“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
“No room in the inn” would become a signature piece for how the Son of Man would be regularly excluded from the world he came to save. Repeatedly throughout the Gospels, a “No Vacancy” sign was extended to Christ as he journeyed toward the cross.
In the synagogue of his hometown of Nazareth, he stood and read Isaiah from the scrolls and then informed the audience of their hardened hearts. Rather than repenting, “They rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff” (Luke 4:29). No room for Christ in Nazareth.
When he traveled to the region of Garasenes, opposite Galilee, Jesus healed a man the demons identify as Legion from demonic possession. With his unparalleled authority, Christ sent the multitude of evil spirits into a pig herd that rushed into the lake and drowned. Rather than rejoicing in their neighbor’s good fortune, the townspeople “Asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear” (Luke 8:37). The pigs meant more to them than the Healer’s presence; there was no room for Christ in Garasenes, either.
Later, when he entered Samaria, “The people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem” (Luke 9:53). The disciples wanted fire to destroy the city, but Jesus rebuked the twelve rather than the ones who openly rejected him. Here again, there was no room for Jesus.
Probably the greatest rejection came from the city of Jerusalem and its religious leaders. Jesus lamented over their unbelief: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Luke 13:34) They would not see, would not listen, would not turn and repent. From Bethlehem to Jerusalem until today…far too often, Jesus is barred from entry.
In contrast this Christmas, may our lives be wide — open doorways inviting the Master to come in and make himself completely at home.
Elizabeth Mitchell is a published author and writes a weekly devotional for the purpose of encouraging, inspiring and leading men and women around the world to seek after a deeper walk with the Lord. Visit her blog at www.journeyfortheheart.com.