HAVE YOU WONDERED? Why was there no room in the inn?

Russ Whitten
Russ Whitten

Luke 2:7 records that when Mary gave birth to Jesus, “She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Have you ever wondered, why was there no room for them in the inn? 

I can imagine Joseph thinking, “All right, enough is enough! First, my wife-to-be gets pregnant! Now we are living under a constant cloud of scandal and suspicion. The whole town is making fun of us, and why wouldn’t they? Who is going to

believe our story? And then, Caesar Augustus decides to take a census! So, at the worst possible time, we have to travel 70 miles on a donkey to Bethlehem! And when we finally arrive, there are no hotel rooms! This is the worst day of my life!” 

We can surely imagine that for Mary and Joseph this was hardly “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Joseph and Mary would soon find out that God had mobilized a giant star to invite

and direct wise men from the East to visit the newborn child. I can’t help to imagine Joseph wondering, “If God could mobilize a giant star, couldn’t he have made one hotel room available? Was this just a last minute overlooked detail by God or are we supposed to learn something from this?"

1) I believe there was no room in the inn so that even from the beginning of his life, Jesus could completely identify with the underprivileged, vulnerable, oppressed, rejects, outcasts and poor. When God became one of us, he demanded none of the world’s comforts, luxuries or protections. God knew that throughout history, there would be homeless people from every part of the world, trying to stay warm at night, who would look up at the stars and say in their heart, “God, you have no idea what I’m going through!” To this, Jesus could honestly say, “Actually, I know exactly what you’re going through.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 says this: “Though he was very rich, yet for your sakes

he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” 

2) I believe there was no room in the inn so that we would be reminded that when we chose to follow God's will it does not mean that we are taking on a comfortable or easy life. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

3) The fact there was no room at the inn was the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy found in Isaiah 53, which says that the Messiah would be “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.”

Max Lucado said it this way: “The mother and father of our Lord were pushed out and rejected. Even before he was born, our Lord was rejected and turned away. The words ‘no room for you’ followed him throughout his life … There was just no room

for him anywhere. It is the same in the lives of many people today, he is still being crowded out. With all the festivities and all the busy-ness, he is an often just an afterthought. Instead of a place of honor at this time of the year, Christ is often shoved into a corner. Even today, there is no room for Jesus.”

The amazing and beautiful thing to me is this: This same child came to find room for us. Even though, time and time again, humanity told the Son of God we simply have no room for you, Jesus continues to tell humanity, “I have more than enough room for you.” 

On the night before Jesus was crucified, he told his disciples: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3)

Ironically, just as his earthly parents knocked on the innkeeper’s door, Jesus still knocks looking for a home in your heart. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Russ Whitten is a local minister, writer and musician. His band, The Bonhoeffers, play every week at The Village Door. His book Have You Ever Wondered? is available on Amazon.com.