On December 21st 1862, Charles Spurgeon delivered a sermon appealing to his congregations to question whether there was room for Jesus in their conversations, their households, and especially in their hearts. “The palace, the forum and the inn have no room for Christ. Have you room for Christ?”
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. – Luke 2:6-7
Mary’s time had come and her baby was about to enter this world as every other child, but under very different circumstances. There was no guest room for them in the Inn. His birthplace would be that of animals. His eyes would open to a dark stable. His first smells would be typical of a barn. His first bed would be a feeding trough and his first visitors would be shepherds who smelled of sheep.
This manger scene is a snapshot of how He lived his life. The Son of Man had no place to lay his head. Jesus was a king without an earthly home or throne. He lived in poverty and deprivation inviting others to join Him, trading earthly treasures for a heavenly kingdom.
There was no room for Him with the scribes and Pharisees. Their squeaky clean appearance made them blind to the filthy condition of their own hearts. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs full of dead peoples bones and full of all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27-28) He wasn’t welcome among the beautiful people whose own outward righteousness blinded them from their core unrighteousness and rendered them unable to detect the stench it produced.
During His earthly ministry He centered Himself among the poor and the needy, the blind and the sick, the tax collectors, the publicans and sinners. He called those who were considered scabs on the skin of society – the unlovely and immoral. There was no veneer of godliness among those who followed Him. Just as the shepherds smelled of sheep, these people smelled of how they lived. And it is these same people who would, in turn, make room for Jesus, glorifying and praising God, sharing the good news with others.
The human condition is still as it was the day Jesus was born. There are those among us who are convinced their own righteousness is worthy of heaven without a savior. There are those of us all too aware of our own sin and feel the need to clean up the mess before inviting Jesus to be a part of our everyday world. We keep Him in church where we believe righteousness lives and don’t take Him home with us.
Never forget that Jesus, born in unsanitary conditions, chose to live a life among and minister to the unclean dregs of society. He is comfortable in our mess. He creates order out of chaos and restores us to a right relationship with God. He gives us a new, tender heart to replace our hardened heart. He removes our filthy, unrighteous rags of iniquity and clothes us in splendid robes of righteousness.
Knowing the unclean conditions Jesus was born into this world and how he lived, would it not make sense to make room for him in the unholy, unrighteous places of our own lives; our homes, our work, our conversations, and the innermost places in our hearts?
Just as no one cleaned up the stable before Jesus was born, we needn’t try to clean it all up before it is fit for the King of Kings to enter. We cannot make clean what sin has stained. Only Jesus can do that. We need only to make room for him. Open up the doors of your life and allow the Savior to clean from the inside out.
Have you room for Christ?