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No Place at the Inn

Luke Chapter Two is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.

This Chapter contains the most important event in History – the Birth of Jesus!

Yet, in this chapter we meet some interesting characters.

Obviously, there’s Jesus – we’ll read more about Him later.  We will meet the Innkeeper, Shepherds, Angels, Simeon, and Anna.  Of course, there’s us.  If we look and read carefully, we will see a bit of ourselves in each person we meet.

I’m going to start with the Shepherds and Angels.

Here they were – standing in their field tending their flocks and suddenly an Angel appears.  One Angel. Several Shepherds. A field. Lots of Sheep {and maybe a few goats as well}.  And just like us, fear.

The angel of the Lord appears to give the Birth Announcement and they freeze up.  Fear grips them until the angel speaks –

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11, ESV)

Of course, once the fear is gone, they decide to go see for themselves, this Baby – Christ the Lord.

{Personal note – in the Old Testament, the angel of the Lord usually meant Jesus preincarnate.  Could this angel actually be God announcing the Birth of His Son?}

The Shepherds return home and we learn that Mary and Joseph need to follow the law and present Jesus at the Temple.

He’s eight days old when Mary and Joseph bring Him to the Temple. There we meet Simeon and Anna – two of God’s chose people.

Simeon – a righteous and devout man. A man who longed to see the Salvation of the Lord before his death. Little did he know it would come in the form of a Baby. An eight-day old Baby.

Simeon, from what the Bible says, was not the one who worked at the Temple.  He was brought there by the Holy Spirit and through his obedience, was allowed to see Jesus – the answer to his prayer.  Isn’t Simeon just like us?  We pray.  We wait.  We obey.  Our prayer is answered.  This should encourage us that if God promises us something, He will fulfill it – no matter how long it takes.

But what about Anna.  She wasn’t promised anything.  She was rewarded for her dedication and service not only to the Temple but to God as well.  What does she do with this reward – she surely doesn’t bask in the glory – no she tells others about what she has seen.  This begs the question – what do we do with what God has favored on us?

The next time we see Jesus, He’s at the Temple again.  Surely by now Simeon and Anna have passed away.  I would hope that for at least once, Simeon was granted the opportunity to visit with an older Jesus.  Who knows, he might have even been there when Jesus decided to stay behind after Passover that year when He was twelve.

As I was reading about Jesus staying behind when his parents left to return home, something struck me. Why would Luke mention Jesus’ age? (Luke 2:42)

In the Jewish tradition, a boy becomes an Adult at age 13.  Jesus being in the Temple at age 12 – not quite an adult – yet with the wisdom of an adult – shows us that children belong to the Lord – at any age.  I would say we could see ourselves here, but most of the time – is it possible we think we don’t know enough to spend time talking about the Scriptures with others?  Jesus at age 12 says otherwise.

After His parents find Him, He returns home with them and grows in statute and wisdom. I’d mention the submitting thing but isn’t that what children are supposed to do? Anyway, Jesus returns home and I return to the night of His birth.

I purposely skipped the Innkeeper at the beginning.  This is the part where I admit that I see myself in the Innkeeper much more than I do with the Shepherds, Simeon, and Anna.

It’s something I care not to admit but will.  My heart doesn’t always want to help people.

In fact, my heart doesn’t always want to help people because there’s no place for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7 finds Mary giving birth and placing Jesus in a manager because there’s no place for them in the inn.  The word place is often translated room – as having no room for them to stay in.  However, tonight, as I read place, a heavy discomfort found my heart in tears.

Could it be that the word place, as the English Standard Version translates it, means that the innkeeper didn’t want them staying at the Inn because there was no place for them in the Inn.

No, the innkeeper couldn’t have an unmarried couple of a different social status and race expecting a child staying at his inn.  No, that would run the other people staying there away.  Word would get around that at this Inn, unlikeables are welcome.  Possibly even homeless people. No, the innkeeper couldn’t have that spreading around.

Just like the innkeeper, how often have I thought that no, I can’t give to that person, they’re not like me.  I can’t help that person, this would ruin my reputation.  No, I can’t be seen helping those people, they don’t look like me, believe like me, one is even unmarried and pregnant.

No.  I just can’t.

Jesus was born and laid in a manager because He is just like those people I mentioned.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to bring good news to the poor;

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

that they may be called oaks of righteousness,

the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3, ESV

Lord, Forgive me.  Forgive Us.

{Tomorrow I return to visit with John the Baptist again – Join me!}

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