2000-12-14 - The Innkeeper
The Christmas Characters Series, Part 12
Luke 2:4-7 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NAS)
We are not told much at all about the keeper of the inn in Bethlehem. We are not given a name or any physical characteristics. We are not told his age, whether he was married, single or widowed. All we know is that he was there. He was a playing piece on God's chessboard moved into Joseph and Mary's path at the right time.
Caesar Augustus needed a census as a tool to use in his empire-wide plan to levy a tax on the population. Mary and Joseph had traveled for several days from Nazareth. Mary was betrothed to Joseph and as such was required to accompany Joseph to the home of ancestor King David. It is also interesting to note that Mary could count King David in her lineage as well. We are not given a clear timeline and it is very possible that Jesus had been born before they reached the inn.
In Jesus' time, only someone of means could afford a private room. Most people staying in Bethlehem at that time would have stayed in a common room. We also know that the town was filled to capacity, so the inn and the common room were probably extremely crowded. There would be no peace for an exhausted mother and her newborn son. With the inn so busy, the innkeeper was likely weary as well. My only thought is that his heart could not turn away Mary and her tiny baby. Putting them in the stable was probably the greatest kindness he could have shown the family. It would be sheltered from the weather, fairly private and far quieter than the common room. The only times they would be disturbed would be by people coming to leave or pick up an animal. Mary and Jesus, and Joseph too for that matter, could rest.
We often speak of how there was no room in the inn and how that relates to the human heart having no room for God. However the innkeeper showed compassion and resourcefulness. In fact, he may have saved Mary's life that evening. There are those who will find room for Jesus and for the greatest news mankind has ever heard. Messiah has come to seek and to save the fallen race of Adam. The doorway to Heaven has been wrenched open to us again. And there is a pathway available to us though it may be narrow and difficult at times. Rejoice!
Lord Jesus - We know so little about this man. But he played an important part at a critical time in Your plan to save humanity. Help us to see and learn the kindness and compassion that he showed to Your earthy family that night so long ago. Amen.
Grace & Peace,