Wonderful Words of Life Radio Sermon December 20, 1970
NO ROOM IN THE INN
The things that were to mark the life of Jesus marked His birth. His birth was marked by poverty. There was none of
the finery of the world surrounding His birth. His eyes opened to the light of the world in a cow stall. He felt under His
little head the rough hay and straw of the manger. It was probably a cave near the inn that was used for the keeping
of the cattle and donkeys. All of the life of Jesus was to be marked by this poverty.
His birth was welcomed with a "No Vacancy" sign. The one line in the Christmas account of Luke, "there was no
room for them in the inn", grabs your attention as you read the story. When we read the word "inn" we must not
think of a modern motel or hotel. It was rather just a fenced enclosure where the poor would sleep during the night.
Joseph and Mary must have been weary when they arrived in Bethlehem. They had traveled about eighty miles from
Nazareth. The decree of Caesar had forced them to make the trip. Everyone was to register in the city of his
ancestors. Both of the newlyweds were of the tribe of Judah and the family of David which must register at
Bethlehem. Mary was heavy with child. Months had sped by since the first visit of the angel. The time for her
delivery was at hand. But along with the weariness of the road and the concern over the condition of Mary, they had
the problem of no place to spend the night. A gruff innkeeper quickly informed that there was no possibility of even
a place to sleep in the large inn. The crowds coming to register had taken every place.
At last the quiet, hidden cave where the cattle were kept was secured. Here in the humble surroundings, the Son of
God made His grand entrance into the history of the world. Jesus seemed to always find "No vacancy" signs in the
course of His life. John comments, "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him
not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not". Someone has said that the only place Jesus did not find
the "no vacancy" sign was at the cross. This was the on¬ly place where room was made for Him.
Things have not really changed. Few find room for Jesus today. In every realm of life you will still find "no vacancy"
signs hanging out when Jesus seeks entrance. Why is this true? Why was there no room for Him to be born in the
inn? Why did the innkeeper turn the Virgin Mother away? Meditation will reveal that we are acting wrongly toward
Jesus from the very motivation of the innkeeper.
THERE WAS NO ROOM IN THE INN BECAUSE THE INNKEEPER WAS TOO BUSY
The registration required by Caesar was a good thing for the innkeeper. It had filled his inn to capacity. Yet it was
not without its problems. The incoming guests with their many needs had kept him on the run from early morning.
When the sun began to set in the West he was so weary that he felt he did not have time to listen to the sad tale of
the shabby couple that stood at the gate. He had too much to do. As the tall stranger tried to tell of the urgency of
them finding shelter for the night, the innkeepers mind was tallying up other things that must be done before night.
Rather impatiently he told them, "I'm sorry, but there is just no room". He was too busy to listen more!
Does not that sound contemporary? What is the thing that keeps so many from making room for the Son of God in
their lives? Is it not a life that is too busy to take time to consider? Many of us are so busy during the Christmas
season itself that we miss the Christ.
A professor was giving a word association test to a group of young people recently. When he gave them the name
Christmas they were to call out the thing that came to their mind first. Some said, "Turkey, trees, bells, Santa Claus,
gifts, family, and several other words”, but not one person mentioned the name Christ. One young lady was
overheard to say when some Christmas carols had been sung in a public meeting, "What are they trying to do, bring
religion into Christmas too?" When we mention the word Christmas, what do you think of? Some think of gifts to be
bought and bills to be paid. Some think of a short vacation. Some think of a visit with their family. How many think of
the great deed of the Christ? How many feel a longing to worship the Babe?
THERE WAS NO ROOM IN THE INN BECAUSE THE INNKEEPER WOULD HAVE TO TURN SOMEONE OUT IF HE
TOOK THEM IN
There was no way the innkeeper could take the weary couple in without turning two other guests out into the night.
His inn was already full. He could not bring himself to do this.
This is a graphic parable of our problem. We do not have room for Jesus because our lives are already full. If we
gave Him the place He asks for we would have to
dismiss others from our lives. There would not be room for Jesus and the other guest. One of them must be turned
Who are some of these other guests we have made room for? Pride is one of them. Pride has a way of usurping all
of the roams in the human heart. Before Jesus can be admitted, Mr. Pride must be turned out. Greed is another.
The rich young ruler found himself confronted with this problem. When Jesus wanted admittance to his life, like the
innkeeper he put out the "no vacancy" sign reluctantly, because his heart was filled with a love for money.
It can be most anything. D. L. Moody tells of a family in whose home he visited in Indiana. The husband and wife
were active and devoted Christians. When he questioned them about their children, the father told Mr. Moody that
their one child was in heaven. He also told Mr. Moody that they were grateful that the Lord had taken their child. Mr.
Moody asked them if the child had been deformed or ill? No the child had been well. Then they told him a strange
The child had been the life of the father. All of his spare time was spent with the child. They walked together in the
evening. They went on excursions together on the week ends. They never found time for God because all of their
time was spent with their little girl. Then the child grew ill and died soon. They were left with a bitter empti¬ness. But
in the bitterness and emptiness they found a place for God. This was the reason they were grateful for the Lord
allowing their little girl to go to heaven.
Do you have room for Jesus? What is your life filled with? What must be turned out? Is it some harmful habit? Is it in
some sensual pleasure? Is it greed? Is it hatred? Is it ill will? I knew a lady while I was pastor in Tennessee who
never found a place for Jesus because her life was filled with a grudge toward another person. She refused to turn
the grudge out of her life, so there was never room for the Son of God.
THERE WAS NO ROOM IN THE INN BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR AND SHABBY
They must have made a shabby picture. They had all of their earthly possessions tied to the backs of the donkeys.
Joseph was a strong workman but poor. Mary was pro¬bably only about sixteen years old and her face was flushed.
She was dressed in the most common clothes. They did not look as though they would be able to even pay their
fare for the night. An attendant is called to show them to the stable. The stable is the very place for people like
People still look at the poor Nazarene and ask why should I admit Him to my life? What will I get out of it? This was
the spirit of Judas. He sought to follow Jesus be¬cause he thought it would "pay". He hoped for some financial
benefits to grow out of the venture. When he saw these hopes were vain, he turned away.
Jesus is still the despised and rejected one. He would not have difficulty gaining a modern day following if He held
out a bulging purse of gold to the crowds. Any move¬ment that offers material gain will thrive. This is the appeal of
the communist move¬ment among the underprivileged nations of the world. Jesus still offers only a cross and an
opportunity to serve. Modern man who has found the secret of luxury in science feels that this Lowly One can offer
Everyone did not follow the example of the innkeeper. Most of the world hung out a "no vacancy" sign as Jesus
passed by, but not all of the world. There were some notable exceptions that first Christmas. Mary was an exception.
That humble, pure Jewish maiden threw open not only the welcoming arms of a mother, but the loving heart of a
believer to the Babe that she held in her arms.
The shepherds who hear the message of the angels were an exception. They bowed before the Babe to offer
worship. They rejoiced at the promises they saw fulfilled.
Anna and Simeon were exceptions. These two aged saints of God saw in the Babe the answer to their prayers and
the substance of their hope. They lifted voices of praise as they swung wide the door to their hearts to Him.
The wise men were exceptions. They traveled long weary miles to bow before Him and to present Him with their gifts.
They traveled home with light and joyful hearts. Herod might hate Him, but they will love and praise Him.
Which group are you with today? Does Jesus have a place in your heart? John records for us a word of Jesus in the
book of Revelation, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any hear my voice, and open, I will came into him and
will sup with him and he with me". What a promise! Will you open the door today?