2:7 Some argue that Bethlehem would not have had an inn since it was not on any major road, and that this story is therefore fictitious. But attempting to claim the nonexistence of an inn in Bethlehem is mere conjecture, and besides, the Greek term translated “guest room” (kataluma) simply means “lodging” and can refer to a guest room in a private home. Animal stalls, with their mangers, were normally located inside the one-room residence of peasant families. Animals were sometimes kept in caves, and an early Christian tradition places the birth of Jesus in a cave.
2:7 The words her firstborn Son naturally implies that Mary later had other children (Mt 13:55–56). That baby Jesus was laid … in a manger indicates that the family was forced to stay in a stable, or perhaps a cave that served as a stable, because there was no other room available in Bethlehem.
2:7 Some argue that Bethlehem would not have had an inn since it was not on any major road, and that this story is therefore fictitious. But attempting to claim the nonexistence of an inn in Bethlehem is mere conjecture, and besides, the Greek term translated “guest room” (kataluma) simply means “lodging” and can refer to a guest room in a private home. Animal stalls, with their mangers, were normally located inside the one-room residence of peasant families. Animals were sometimes kept in caves, and an early Christian tradition places the birth of Jesus in a cave.
2:7 “Swaddling clothes” were narrow strips of cloth wrapped around an infant. That Christ was born and placed “in a manger” led to the tradition that He was born in a stable. Early tradition indicates that He was born in a cave, which may have been used as a stable.
2:7 The birth of the baby is described simply. “Swaddling cloths” were strips of cloth used to wrap a baby. That the Child was put in a manger may mean that the birth was in a stable. There is a tradition that Jesus was born in a cave, which could have been used as a stable. Mangers were often outdoors, so it is possible that Jesus was born in the open air. Another possibility is that the place was the home of a poor family, where the animals would be under the same roof.
there was no place for them in the inn. This may mean that the innkeeper did not want to have them there.
2:7 her firstborn son Luke probably notes this detail here because Yahweh had consecrated Israel’s firstborn children (Num 3:13).
wrapped him in strips of cloth Wrapping or swaddling provides warmth, comfort, and security to newborn infants (and is still practiced today).
a manger A trough out of which animals were fed. This may imply that they were in a barn of some sort, but a house is a stronger possibility; animals were often kept indoors at night in the house’s lower level.
the inn The Greek text here (at the end of this verse) uses the term katalyma in reference to a guest room (compare Luke 22:11).
2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son. The greatest miracle in the history of the world, the eternal Son of God being born as a man, happens quietly in a stable in an obscure village in Judea. Luke’s description is restrained, giving only a very few details. swaddling cloths. In ancient times strips of cloth were used to wrap babies to keep them warm and secure. manger. A feeding trough for animals. The inn, with the definite article (“the”), indicates that this was a specific, publicly known lodging place for individual travelers and caravans. no place for them. The inn was full, since many had come to Bethlehem to register for the census (see note on v. 2).
2:7 firstborn. Mary had other children subsequent to this. See note on Mt 12:46. cloths. Strips of cloth were used to bind a baby tightly. It kept the baby from injuring sensitive facial skin and eyes with its own (often sharp) fingernails, and was believed to strengthen the limbs. This is still the custom in some Eastern cultures. The absence of such cloths was a sign of poverty or lack of parental care (Eze 16:4). manger. A feeding trough for animals. This is the source of the notion that Christ was born in a stable, something nowhere stated in Scripture. Ancient tradition held that He was born in a cave (possibly one used as a shelter for animals). But no actual description of the location is given. no room for them in the inn. Possibly because many were returning to this ancient town to register in the census.
2:7 Swaddling cloths were strips of cloth wrapped around a baby to keep its arms and legs straight. Firstborn Son implies that Mary had other children (Matt. 1:25; 13:55; Mark 3:31–35). The manger was probably a feeding trough for animals. Jesus was probably born in a stable or in a cave that served as one. The inn was most likely a reception room in a private home or a space at a public shelter, not a large building with several individual rooms.
2:7. In Bethlehem, Mary brought forth her firstborn Son. The firstborn qualified as the principal heir in a Jewish family. Mary then wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
2:7. With a surprising reserve and simplicity—given the expectations created in the first chapter—Luke described the birth of Jesus Christ—And she gave birth to her firstborn son (2:7a). The description—wrapped Him in cloths (2:7b)—depicted the normal procedure for newborns, who were bound in cloths to straighten their limbs, an act thought to help promote the health and strength of an infant’s limbs. However, the detail—and laid Him in a manger (2:7c)—described an act that was completely contrary to expectation and seemingly utterly absurd! Tradition and familiarity with the story has removed the absurdity for many readers. Yet the idea that a young mother—even an inexperienced one—would place her newborn in an animal feeding trough is to be understood as entirely incongruous. The explanation—there was no room for them in the inn (2:7d)—tells the reader why there was a manger present, but it does not take away the inappropriateness of using it as a crib for a newborn. The scene is one of abject humility—of utter condescension. It is contrary to expectation so far as the arrival of the Messiah is concerned. Luke is letting the reader know from this beginning, this Messiah will surprise you; this Messiah will do the unexpected.
Inn (katalyma) is better translated “guest room in a private home” (cf. Lk 22:11, where the same word is used; see Lk 10:34, where a different word, pandocheion, is used for an “inn”). The home, probably belonging to a relative, where Mary and Joseph would have stayed, was full, so they sought refuge and privacy either in an animal room adjacent to the home (analogous to an attached garage), or in a nearby cave used for housing animals. In either case, the idea of the holy family being turned away from an inn so Jesus would be born in a stable is probably not quite accurate.
2:7 “firstborn” This is used in the OT sense of “heir.” It also strongly suggests that Mary had other children (cf. Matt. 13:55–56; John 7:35).
“wrapped Him in cloths” The KJV has “swaddling cloth.” This was a square cloth which was held in place with strips of cloth so as to make it easy to change. This was the norm for all children of this period and culture.
“manger” This was a feeding trough (cf. LX, Isa. 1:3; Prov. 14:4) for domestic animals. These were very crude, non-hygenic conditions, but so was all of the ancient, peasant world.
“inn” The term kataluma is indefinite and could refer to a guest room (animals often lived in close proximity to their owners, cf. Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11). Justin Martyr (a.d. 110–162/168) says that Jesus was born in a cave used as an animal corral (common in this area). Others say it was in an open-air courtyard of the Inn. The more traditional interpretation is in a room shared with animals of the Inn’s guests.
Bethlehem was a very small village. I am not sure there would be enough travelers to warrant an inn. Jewish culture stressed the cultural obligation of hosting relatives. There were so many relatives in town for the enrollment that no guest room was available. Luke uses this same word in 22:11 for a “guest room” (cf. Mark 14:14).
The term is used in a wide variety of meanings in the Septuagint, but one of them is a room in one’s house, usually on the roof (cf. 1 Sam. 1:18; 2 Sam. 7:6; 1 Chr. 17:5).
Ver. 7. Her first-born Son.—
Birth of Christ the Lord:—
- Christ’s relation to the poor. 1. When He came in so lowly circumstances, consenting to lay His head in a manger, none of the pomps of royalty about Him, how touchingly and tenderly He spoke to the vast majority of the world. There is a bond of sympathy between Him and the multitude whose condition is one of struggles, deprivations, and anxieties. Here is a warrant of His love; here is something to secure their confidence, draw out their hearts, lead them to admiration. 2. How plain, in the light of this event, is the folly of estimating men by their birth or surroundings. What a rebuke on the worldliness of earth, on our unseemly regard for temporal surroundings. If Christ, the King of kings, the Saviour of the world, the Son of the Highest, could take so lowly a station, we are weak indeed, if we judge men hereafter by the canopy on their cradles or the jewels on their swaddling-bands.
- The importance of infancy. Why was Christ a babe? To link Himself at every stage with humanity; to indicate the sweetness and preciousness of infant life. In that quaint, fragile casket—a babe—is the jewel of an immortal soul. There lie the germs of immense possibilities. The soul is as yet in embryo, but it is there. He turns against his better nature, against the teachings of Christ’s life, who has no interest in the new-born babe.
III. The superior importance of the spiritual to the material. How little do we know of the material circumstances of Christ’s life! Even this great event, His birth, is shrouded in comparative darkness. God would show us the comparative insignificance of temporal things. Christ came to teach spiritual truth.
- Christ’s coming was the pivotal event of the world’s history. From Bethlehem shall go forth an influence that shall move the world. That Divine Babe is the salvation of a ruined earth! (A. P. Foster.)
The miraculous conception not unreasonable:—Let me dispute the case with a mere natural man, How doth the harvest of the field enrich the husbandman? It is answered, By the seed which is sown in the ground. Say again, How came seed into the world to sow the ground? Surely you must confess that the first seed had a Maker, who did not derive it from the ears of wheat, but made it of nothing by the power of His own hand; says St. Austin, “then God could make a man without the seed of man in the Virgin’s womb, who made seed for the corn before ever there was earing or harvest.” Nay, there is an instance for it in the little bees, as the poet doth philosophize, they do not bring forth their young ones, as other creatures do, by the help of male and female together; but they gather the seed which begets the young ones from the dew of leaves, and herbs, and flowers, and so they bring them forth. (Bishop Hacket.)
Christ born without the curse of the flesh:—The Virgin conceived our Lord without the lusts of the flesh, and therefore she had not the pangs and travail of women upon her, she brought Him forth without the curse of the flesh. These be the Fathers’ comparisons: as bees draw honey from the flower without offending it, as Eve was taken out of Adam’s side without any grief to him, as a sprig issues out of the bark of the tree, as the sparkling light from the brightness of the star, such ease was it to Mary to bring forth her first-born Son; and therefore having no weakness in her body, feeling no want of vigour, she did not deliver Him to any profane hand to be dressed, but by a special ability, above all that are newly delivered, she wrapt Him in swaddling clouts. (Ibid.)
Christ wrapped in swaddling clothes:—Now these clouts here mentioned which were not worth the taking up, but that we find them in this text, are more to be esteemed than the robes of Solomon in all his royalty; yea, more valuable than the beauty of the lily, or any flower of the field or garden, which did surpass all the royalty of Solomon. I may say they are the pride of poverty, for I know not in what thing poverty may better boast and glory than in the rags of Christ. (Ibid.) 1. The strange condition of the mother, that she brought forth a Son, who by nature was no bearer, for she was a virgin. 2. The strange condition of the Babe, the first-begotten Son of God was the first-born Son of flesh and blood. 3. The strange condition of the place, that she laid Him in a manger. 4. The strange condition of men, that there was no room in the inn for Jesus and Mary. (Ibid.)
The Christ-child:—Mother and child! What more beautiful sight, and what more wonderful sight is there in the world? What more beautiful? That man must be very far from the Kingdom of God—he is not worthy to be called a man at all—whose heart has not been touched by the sight of his first child in its mother’s bosom. The greatest painters who have ever lived have tried to paint the beauty of that simple thing—a mother with her babe: and have failed. One of them, Rafaelle by name, to whom God gave the spirit of beauty in a measure in which He never gave it, perhaps, to any other man, tried again and again, for years, painting over and over that simple subject—the mother and her babe—and could not satisfy himself. Each of his pictures is most beautiful—each in a different way; and yet none of them is perfect. There is more beauty in that simple everyday sight than he or any man could express by his pencil and his colours. And as for the wonder of that sight I tell you this: That physicians, and the wise men who look into the laws of nature, of flesh and blood, say that the mystery is past their finding out; that if they could find out the whole meaning, and the true meaning of those two words, “mother” and “child,” they could get the key to the deepest wonders of the world—but they cannot. And philosophers who look into the laws of soul and spirit say the same. The wiser men they are, the more they find in the soul of every new-born babe, and its kindred to its mother, wonders and puzzles past man’s understanding. This then we are to think of—God revealed, and shown to men, as a babe upon His mother’s bosom. It was only in the Babe of Bethlehem that the whole of God’s character shone forth, that men might not merely find Him and bow before Him, but trust in Him and love Him, as one who could be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. A God in need! a God weak! a God fed by mortal woman! a God wrapt in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger! If that sight will not touch our hearts, what will? God has been through the pains of infancy, that He might take on Him not merely the nature of a man, but all human nature, from the nature of the babe on its mother’s bosom, to the nature of the full-grown and full-souled man, fighting with all his powers against the evil of the world. All this is His, and He is all; that no human being, from the strongest to the weakest, from the oldest to the youngest, but may be able to say, “What I am, Christ has been!” (C. Kingsley.)
The Advent exalts human relations:—Why was it that the Eternal Son, when He abandoned that “glory which He had with the Father before the world was,” and determined to be “the Man Christ Jesus,” was pleased to make His apparition on the scene of the world even as others do; to be the infant and the child before He was the man; to be subject to the filial obligation in the fulness of its legitimate extent; and to be all this in a situation in which such ties were stripped of all that could recommend them, apart from their own intrinsic value—a situation in which wealth could not adorn, nor authority dignify them? Assuredly one prominent reason was that, separating, by means so much more intelligible than argumentative statements, what was essentially excellent in human nature from its depravations and corruptions, He might bestow a special dignity upon those primary connections of human life upon which the rest so mainly depend, and in which the tenderer and better affections of the heart find, and were meant by our Creator to find, their peculiar sphere of exercise. Nothing can more truly show that nature and revelation came from the same hand, than the assumption into revelation of all that is innocent in nature. When God, as Creator of the world, bound together all the variety of human connections by all the variety of corresponding affections, He wrought a work destined for everlasting. Dispensations may change, but these things are not meant to change. And thus it is that, when from the perusal of the New Testament a man descends into the charities of social life, things do not seem changed in their position, but wonderfully beautified in their complexion; a Diviner glow rests upon them and a holier sanctity. There is a change, but it is a change that adorns without disturbing. It is as if a man who had lived in a twilight world, where all was dimly revealed and coldly coloured, were suddenly to be surprised with the splendour of a summer noon. Objects would still remain, and relations be still unbroken; but new and lovely lights and shadowings would cover them: they would move in the same direction as before, but under an atmosphere impregnated with brighter hues, and rich with a light that streamed direct from heaven. I. Then, by what means could this high result have been attained with such force, directness, and certainty, as has been effected in the adoption by our God of those very connections? So far, you can perceive a strong reason for the manner of Christ’s incarnation—for His advent among us in the simplicity of our ordinary manhood. You can perceive that it conferred an inexpressible dignity upon the relation, above all others, of the mother and the child. II. I would add that of His design to exalt this as well as the other natural relations, to make them high and sacred elements in the religion He was about to establish, a most lovely proof is insinuated in the constant employment of all these connections and feelings to symbolize the eternal realities of the spiritual world. III. The passage before us speaks not merely of the “first-born,” but of her who bore Him, and whose mysterious agonies were unsupported by the aids of wealth and the appliances of luxury; who was rejected when she would have given to the Immortal Infant the common comforts of that trying hour; and who had to place among the beasts of the field, less insensate than man, the “life of the world” thus cast forth to die. How wondrous, how unfelt before or since, the communion of that mother and that Son! With the full remembrance of His supernatural descent, to sit at the same daily table for all those long and untold years that preceded the public ministry of the great prophet; to recognize in Him at once the babe of her bosom and the God of her immortality; to catch, ever and anon, those mystic echoes of eternity which the deeper tones of His converse would reveal, and to behold, plainer and plainer, as He grew, the lineaments of the God impressed upon the wondrous inmate of her humble home; surely these were experiences to dignify that mother in our thoughts; yea, to give a glory and a hallowing to maternity itself for ever. IV. One point, above all others, added a peculiar interest to that wondrous connection. The virgin and her Son stood alone in the world! alone in the long line of the human race! He, with whom she was so awfully, yet endearingly connected, could acknowledge no earthly father, no author of His humanity, but that overshadowing Spirit by whose mysterious operation He had been invested with our nature. In that awful hour of Bethlehem there must have mingled with the sorrows of the outcast Virgin the trembling joys of one who knew herself the supernatural channel of the Hope of the human race. And though she might own to the feebleness of the woman in that hour of trial, and deplore amid the unworthy accompaniments of such a scene that “low estate” of “the handmaid of the Lord” which had reduced her to them, yet as she gazed upon that Eternal Child in whom was bound up the regeneration of Israel, of the world, “her soul could magnify the Lord and her spirit rejoice in God her Saviour.” (W. Archer Butler.)
The Saviour and the manger:—For ourselves Christmas Day is one of universal joy; for Jesus Christ’s sake, who as on this day was born, there is a loving sadness. His birth overshadowed His life. His very coming into the world was a heavy prophecy of sorrow.
- Born a helpless unknowing babe. Unable to do anything; He was mocked in the hour of His Passion; as being weak and foolish; as one unable to reply to Herod and to Pilate (Isa. 53:7). The burden of our nature was laid upon Him all through His earthly life, which was one long course of sacrifice for others. The weak and suffering are often the workers of the world.
- Born without a dwelling. “No room for Him in the inn”; whilst living, no home for Him in Jerusalem or elsewhere (Matt. 8:20). In death He had no tomb or sepulchre of His own. Quite possible to do a mighty work for the world, and yet have no lot or portion in it.
III. Born in darkness. Just after midnight; died in darkness “over the whole land,” just after midday. The Light of the world came into it at dark, to make it bright with His presence, which presence being taken away, left it dark again. Type of a soul once enlightened, fallen away into the darkness of sin (Matt. 6:23).
- Born on a hard couch. Born in a stable, laid in a manger, He died extended and reposing upon the bitter couch of the cross. A birth, life, and death in hardship. This world a school of discipline to holy souls.
- Born between two animals. The ox and the ass were with Him at His birth. He was compelled to breathe out His soul between two thieves, and during His life He received sinners. Conclusion: Every life repeats itself. Marvellous concord between Jesus Christ the Child and Jesus Christ the Man, the manger and the cross, the beginning and the end. (M. Faber.) There was no room for them in the inn.—
No room for Christ in the inn:—There were other reasons why Christ should be laid in the manger. 1. It was intended thus to show forth His humiliation. Would it not have been inappropriate that the Redeemer who was to be buried in a borrowed tomb should be born anywhere but in the humblest shed, and housed anywhere but in the most ignoble manner? The manger and the cross, standing at the two extremities of the Saviour’s earthly life, seem most fit and congruous the one to the other. 2. By being in a manger He was declared to be the king of the poor. In the eyes of the poor, imperial robes excite no affection, but a man in their own garb attracts their confidence. Great commanders have readily won the hearts of their soldiers by snaring their hardships and roughing it as if they belonged to the ranks. 3. Further, in being thus laid in a manger, He did, as it were, give an invitation to the most humble to come to Him. We might tremble to approach a throne, but we cannot fear to approach a manger. 4. Methinks there was yet another mystery. This place was free to all. Christ was born in the stable of the inn to show how free He is to all comers. Class distinctions are unknown here, and the prerogatives of caste are not acknowledged. No forms of etiquette are required in entering a stable; it cannot be an offence to enter the stable of a public caravanserai. So, if you desire to come to Christ, you may come to Him just as you are; you may come now. 5. It was at the manger that the beasts were fed; and does the Saviour lie where weary beasts receive their provender, and shall there not be a mystery here? Alas, there are some men who have become so brutal through sin, so utterly depraved by their lusts, that to their own consciences everything manlike has departed; but even to such the remedies of Jesus, the Great Physician, will apply. Even beastlike men may come to Christ, and live. 6. But as Christ was laid where beasts were fed, you will recollect that after He was gone beasts fed there again. It was only His presence which could glorify the manger, and here we learn that if Christ were taken away the world would go back to its former heathen darkness. Christianity itself would die out, at least that part of it which really civilizes man, if the religion of Jesus could be extinguished.
- There were other places besides the inn which had no room for Jesus. 1. The palaces of emperors and the halls of kings afforded the Royal Stranger no refuge. 2. But there were senators, there were forums of political discussion, there were the places where the representatives of the people make the laws, was there no room for Christ there? Alas! none. 3. How little room there is for Him in what is called good society. There is room there for all the silly little forms by which men choose to trammel themselves; room for frivolous conversation; room for the adoration of the body; there is room for the setting up of this and that as the idol of the hour, but there is too little room for Christ, and it is far from fashionable to follow the Lord fully. 4. How little room for Him on the exchange. 5. How little room for Him in the schools of the philosophers. 6. How little room has He found even in the Church. Go where ye will, there is no space for the Prince of Peace but with the humble and contrite spirits which by grace He prepares to yield Him shelter.
III. The inn itself had no room for Him. This was the main reason why He must be laid in a manger. 1. The inn represents public opinion. In this free land, men speak of what they like, and there is a public opinion upon every subject; and you know there is free toleration in this country to everything—permit me to say, toleration to everything but Christ. 2. The inn also represents general conversation. Speech is very free in this land, but ah! how little room is there for Christ in general talk. 3. As for the inns of modern times—who would think of finding Christ there?
- Have you room for Christ?
- If you have room for Christ, then the world has no room for you. It had no room for Joseph or Mary, any more than for the Babe. Who are His father, and mother, and sister, and brother, but those who receive His word and keep it? So, as there was no room for the Blessed Virgin, nor for the reputed father, remember there is no room in this world for any true follower of Christ. 1. No room for you to take your ease. 2. No room for you to sit down contented with your own attainments. 3. No room for you to hide your treasure in. 4. No room for you to put your confidence. 5. Hardly room of sufferance. You must expect to be laughed at, and to wear the fool’s cap in men’s esteem. Will you enlist on such terms? Will you give room for Christ, when there is henceforth no room for you? (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Christ outside of the inn:—1. This was partly the result of ignorance. Had they known He was the Messiah, doubtless they would have acted otherwise. 2. But partly also the result of selfishness. Had there been more of a generous humanity in their hearts, some fitter place would have been found for Mary and her child.
- We may take this inn as an emblem of the ungodly world. What is the essential distinction between an inn and a home? In the one, as in the other, a number of individuals dwell together, but “home” involves the idea of vital unity—common life, feeling, experience. In an inn no mutual fellowship; each thinks only of his own interests. When Christ was born, the Roman Empire was just one huge inn, with no real cohesion, no vital unity, amongst the various provinces. Into this world of aggregated interests Christ came; and there was no room for Him. Even the Jewish nation, to whom more especially He came, was split up into sects and parties, each pursuing its own objects, although living under the same roof of a common history and a common religion; and so, when He came unto His own, they received Him not. Is it not the same in the world now?
- An emblem of many an unchristian household. Many a household does not at all realize the idea of a “home.” Its members eat and sleep under the same roof; but this is more like an arrangement of temporary necessity than of loving choice. They need Christ as a bond of union; but they do not feel their need of Him, and so for Him they have no room.
III. An emblem of the worldly heart. It might be thought the very spirit of selfishness would impart unity to the worldling’s nature. But no, for while his desires are imperious, they are often mutually conflicting. He needs a governing principle—Christ dwelling in the heart. (T. C. Finlayson.)
Room in the soul for Christ:—As the palace, and the forum, and the inn, have no room for Christ, and as the places of public resort have none, have you room for Christ? “Well,” says one, “I have room for Him, but I am not worthy that He should come to me.” Ah! I did not ask about worthiness; have you room for Him? “Oh,” says one, “I have an empty void the world can never fill!” Ah! I see you have room for Him. “Oh! but the room I have in my heart is so base!” So was the manger. “But it is so despicable!” So was the manger a thing to be despised. “Ah! but my heart is so foul!” So, perhaps, the manger may have been. “Oh! but I feel it is a place not at all fit for Christ!” Nor was the manger a place fit for Him, and yet there was He laid. “Oh! but I have been such a sinner; I feel as if my heart had been a den of beasts and devils!” Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed. Have you room for Him? Never mind what the past has been; He can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even the present state may be if thou mournest it. If thou hast but room for Christ He will come and be thy guest. Do not say, I pray you, “I hope I shall have room for Him;” the time is come that He shall be born; Mary cannot wait months and years. Oh! sinner, if thou hast room for Him let Him be born in thy soul to-day: “To-day if ye will hear His voice harden not your hearts as in the provocation.” “To-day is the accepted time; to-day is the day of salvation.” Room for Jesus! Room for Jesus now! “Oh!” saith one, “I have room for Him, but will He come?” Will He come indeed! Do you but set the door of your heart open, do but say, “Jesus, Master, all unworthy and unclean I look to thee; come, lodge within my heart,” and He will come to thee, and He will cleanse the manger of thy heart, nay, will transform it into a golden throne, and there He will sit and reign for ever and for ever. My Master wants room! Room for Him! Room for Him! I, His herald, cry aloud, Room for the Saviour! Room! Here is my royal Master—have you room for Him? Here is the Son of God made flesh—have you room for Him? Here is He who can forgive all sin—have you room for Him? There is He who can take you up out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay—have you room for Him? Here is He who, when He cometh in, will never go out again, but abide with you for ever to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss for you—have you room for Him? ’Tis all I ask. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your want of feeling, your want of goodness, your want of grace—all these will be but room for Him Have you room for Him? Oh! Spirit of God, lead many to say, “Yes, my heart is ready.” Ah! then He will come and dwell with you. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
Christ waiting for room:—Were a man to enter some great cathedral of the old continent, survey the vaulted arches and the golden tracery above, wander among the forests of pillars on which they rest, listen to the music of choirs, and catch the softened light that streams through sainted forms and histories on the windows, observe the company of priests, gorgeously arrayed, chanting, kneeling, crossing themselves, and wheeling in long processions before the great altar loaded with gold and gems; were he to look into the long tiers of side chapels, each a gorgeous temple, with an altar of its own for its princely family, adorned with costliest mosaics, and surrounded, in the niches of the walls, with statues and monumental groups of dead ancestors in the highest forms of art, noting also the living princes at their worship there among their patriarchs and brothers in stone—spectator of a scene so imposing, what but this will his thought be: “Surely the Infant of the manger has at last found room, and come to be entertained among men with a magnificence worthy of His dignity.” “But if he looks again, and looks a little farther in—far enough in to see the miserable pride of self and power that lurks under this gorgeous show, the mean ideas of Christ, the superstitions held instead of Him, the bigotry, the hatred of the poor, the dismal corruption of life—with how deep a sigh of disappointment will he confess: “Alas, the manger was better and a more royal honour!” (Horace Bushnell, DD.)
Room in the heart for Christ:—Christ was straitened for room in the inn, and thrust into the stable, that you might open your heart wide, and enlarge it, to give him a habitation to content Him. First, beloved, periculosum est inter delicias poni; ’tis full of peril to rest among pleasures and delights; it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting (Eccl. 7:2). Adam had his habitation among the sweet savours and most delightful recreations of the garden of Eden; his senses were so filled with objects of pleasures, that he forgot the Lord: therefore Jesus Christ, the second Adam, who came to restore all that was lost, pitched upon the worst corner of the house, where there were no delights at all to move temptation. King’s houses, and well furnished mansions have their occasions of lewdness, but she laid her Son in a manger. Learn from hence to condescend unto the humility of Christ if you mean to ascend unto His glory; for as the custom of those regions was, this manger was a vault cut out of a rock, as low a place as He could cast Himself into; but no man projects so wisely to raise up, mighty building as he that lays a low foundation. It is reported of Sextus Quintus, how he was so far from shame that he was born in a poor cottage, that he would sport with his own fortune, and say he was born in a bright resplendent family, because the sun looked in at every cranny of the house; it is not the meanness of the place that can justly turn to any man’s scorn, nor doth a magnificent palace build up any man’s reputation. Holofernes had a costly tent to cover him, and yet was never the honester; and it was a pretty objection of Plutarch’s against the vain consumption of cost upon the decking of our houses. What do we mean, says he, to be at such cost to deck our chambers? Why will we pay so dear for our sleep, when God, if you please, hath given you that for nothing? the slenderest place served our Saviour to cover His head, “she laid Him in a manger.” (Bishop Hacket.)
Christ seeks entrance into the heart:—Why, since Christianity undertakes to convert the world, does it seem to almost or quite fail in the slow progress it makes? Because, I answer, Christ gets no room, as yet, to work, and be the fire in men’s hearts He is able to be. We undertake for Him as by statecraft and churchcraft and priestcraft. We raise monasteries for Him in one age, military crusades in another. Raymond Lull, representing a large class of teachers, undertook to make the gospel so logical that he could bring down all men of all nations, without a peradventure, before it. Some in our day are going to carry everything by steam-ships and commerce; some by science and the schooling of heathen children; some by preaching agents adequately backed by missionary boards; some by tracts and books. But the work, however fitly ordered as respects the machinery, lingers, and will and must linger, till Christ gets room to be a more complete inspiration in His followers. They gave Him the stable when they ought to be giving Him the inn, put Him in the lot of weakness, keep Him back from His victories, shut Him down under the world, making His gospel, thus, such a secondary, doubtfully real affair, that it has to be always debating in the evidences; instead of being its own evidence, and marching forward in its own mighty power.… And yet Christ has a patience large enough to bear us still; for He came to bear even our sin, and He will not start from His burden, even if He should not be soon through with it. All the sooner ought we to come to the heart so long and patiently grieving for us. Be it ours to make room for Him, and to stretch ourselves to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. (Horace Bushnell, D.D.)
Shutting out Jesus:—Unless the Holy Spirit has been really given, these are the words which we may see written up here, and there, and everywhere—even in this professedly Christian land—“No room for Jesus here!” You can scarcely find an inn literally—a hotel, a public-house, or a beer-shop—where these words are not too plainly written up—“No room for Jesus here.” They are written, too, over the doors of how many so-called places of amusement—theatres, ball-rooms, and such like: “No room for Jesus here!” But not only so; over how many places of business are there these same words! In how many private houses—drawing-rooms, dining-rooms, parlours, and kitchens—may we look up and see the same sad words—“No room for Jesus here!” And written on all these why? “Who dares,” you say, “to write such words?” They write them—every one writes them, wherever he goes, who has an unchanged heart; for upon every heart that is not changed—whether it beats in the bosom of a prince or a peasant, of a professing Christian or a professing heathen—the same sad, solemn words are written deep—“No room for Jesus here!” (Henry Wright, M.A.)
Christ found in lowly places:—And very like this world was that inn. Room and smiling welcome for the rich and the reveller: no room for the heavy-laden and the poor. And very like—because that which we see without in others we can find within ourselves, if we look—is our own heart unto that inn. Room, ample room, for pride and display, luxury and indolence: no room for humility and meekness, self-denial and holy work. Yet, as surely as Christ was born, nigh upon 2,000 years ago, in a manger, so is He born now in lowly homes and hearts. Does not your own experience correspond with this? Have you not found Christ in poverty rather than in plenteousness, in suffering rather than in merriment, in solitude rather than in multitudes, in the stable rather than the inn? When have you prayed most vehemently? When have you seemed to know most clearly that you had a soul which could never die, though the body might be buried in a week? it has been, when you have been sent away from the din and excitement of the world, to the lonely, silent places of affliction; affliction in others, or in yourself, alike meant to lead us unto Christ. To be always in the inn, always and altogether in the uproar, and heat, and enjoyment of the world; that would be death to us as Christians, death to our spiritual life. (Canon S. Reynolds Hole.)
The disowned Saviour:—You are all familiar, perhaps, with the story of Ulysses, the great Greek warrior, king of the island of Ithaca, and one of the most illustrious heroes of the Trojan war. After an absence from his home for twenty years—years consumed in wars and wanderings—he returned to his island empire to find his palace beset by a circle of gay young lords, who were not only consuming his substance and wasting his resources in riotous living, but were adding insult to injury, on the one hand by usurping the reins of power in his dominions, and on the other by their infamous proposals, or, at least, by mutually vying for the hand of his beloved and longsuffering Penelope. Wisely, he did not at once make himself known. Had he done so, it might have cost him his life. Nay, doubtless, had he promptly revealed himself in his own proper character, these graceless suitors would not have hesitated instantly to put him out of his own house—incontinently and unceremoniously to order him off his own premises and out of his own kingdom. More likely still, they would have taken measures effectually to compass his death. Do you say that that was pretty rough treatment? I agree with you; and yet it was not more so than that which, eighteen hundred years ago, was accorded to the Son of Man. When the Saviour of men came into this world, His own world, the world He had made with His own hands and was about to redeem with His own blood, there was yet found in it no room for Himself. No room! Hustled out of the inn where others found accommodation, the Divine Son of Mary and of God was left to creep into the world, as it were, through a back door—to be ushered into His earthly existence surrounded only by the wondering beasts of the stall. (R. H. Howard.)
Christ waiting to find room:—On the birth and birthplace of Jesus there is something beautifully correspondent with His personal fortunes afterwards, and also with the fortunes of His gospel, even down to our own age and time. He comes into the world as it were to the taxing, and there is scant room for Him even at that. My subject is the very impressive fact that Jesus could not find room in the world, and has never yet been able to find it.
- See how it was with Him in His life. Herod’s massacre of innocents; parents unable to understand Him, to take in conception of His Divine childhood; John the Baptist growing doubtful, and sending to inquire whether He is really the Christ; Rabbis with no room in their little theologies for His doctrine; His own disciples getting but slenderest conception of His person and mission from His very explicit teachings.
- So if we speak of Christendom, it might seem as if Christ had certainly gotten room, so far, to enter and be glorified in human society. But (a) what multitudes of outlying populations are there that have never heard of Him. And (b) of the states and populations that acknowledge Him, how little of Christ, take them altogether, can there be said to be really in them?
III. To take a closer inspection. Great multitudes utterly reject Him, and stay fast in their sins. They have no time to be religious, or the sacrifices are too great; some too poor, others too rich. Some too much honoured, and some too much want to be. Some in their pleasures, some in their expectations. Some too young, some too old, &c. The great world thus under sin, even that part of it which is called Christian, is very much like the inn at Bethlehem, preoccupied, crowded full in every part, so that, as the mother of Jesus looked up wistfully to the guest-chambers that cold night, drawing her Holy Thing to her bosom, in like manner Jesus Himself stands at the door of these multitudes, knocking vainly, till His head is filled with dew, and His locks are wet with the drops of the night.
- Churchcraft meantime has been quite as narrow, quite as sore a limitation as statecraft.
- And the attempted work of science, calling itself theology, is scarcely more equal to its theme. VI. But the most remarkable thing is that, when the old niggard dogma of a bigot age and habit give way, and emancipated souls begin to look for a new Christianity and a broader, worthier faith, just then everything great in the gospel vanishes more strangely than before. Faith becomes mere opinion, love a natural sentiment, piety itself a blossom on the wild stock of nature. Jesus, the Everlasting Word, dwindles to a mere man. The Holy Spirit is made to be very nearly identical with the laws of the soul. The new Christianity, the more liberal, more advanced belief, turns out to be a discovery that we are living in nature just as nature makes us live. Salvation there is none; nothing is left for a gospel but development, with a little human help from the excellent Person, Jesus. Is it not time that Christ our Master should begin to be more fitly represented by His people. Be it yours, then, to make room for Him, even according to the greatness of His power—length, breadth, depth, height. (H. Bushnell, D.D.)
A fit nursery for the Holy Child:—We try to realize the scene and situation of which the text tells us; and we feel that the stable and the manger were not a fit nursery and cradle for the Holy Child. The best house in Bethlehem, and the fairest chamber in it, would have been honoured by that wondrous birth And pious fancy, offended at the lowly birthplace of the Lord, has constructed legends in the hope to hide its shame. They say that the cave in which the Virgin rested glowed with a glorious light as soon as she entered it, and that this light, excelling the brightness of the sun, remained within the cave as long as she was there. We share the feeling out of which such legend grew. And yet, while lamenting that, through want of room, the Saviour should have been born in such a lowly place, it may be that we are not giving Him the best accommodation that we can. For want of room He may be pushed away into some cold corner of our hearts, and to some small apartment of our thoughts. Even in our worship He has often less room than He claims. There is not a precious thing we have that does not owe some of its preciousness to Him. Our lives would be sad indeed, and all our merriment would be but a surface thing, like a hollow laugh or ghastly smile, that seeks to hide our inward wretchedness, were it not for those bright hopes that Christ has enabled us to cherish. If we trace them back to their source we shall find them all in Him. Let us find room for Him then amid all the gladness of this season and all the pleasures of this day. (E. A. Lawrence.)
A fit prelude to a life of poverty, humiliation, and sacrifice:—By a vision of the night God could have prepared the keeper of the inn for the reception of the world’s Saviour; by a message conveyed by angelic lips He could have commanded the most sumptuous welcome which earth’s palaces could afford; He who created the beauties which smiled on the bosom of paradise could have called into existence a garden blooming with flowers which never graced primeval Eden, and amid its blushing charms the “Rose of Sharon” might have budded. But no! In God’s estimation, what difference is there between a palace and a manger? Whatever Christ touched He dignified. The king, untouched by Christ, is blind and miserable and naked. The pauper in whose heart Christ abides is gifted with loftiest dignity. Christ shed a glory round that Eastern stable. Had infant Cæsars pillowed their heads in the manger it would have been a manger still; but Christ having found a cradle there, the manger is henceforth distinguished by such a glory as never shone on the palaces of kings. (Dr. Parker.)
NO ROOM FOR JESUS.
He was cradled in a manger;
His own angels sung the hymn
Of rejoicing at His coming,
Yet there was no room for Him.
Oh, my brothers, are we wiser,
Are we better now than they?
Have we any room for Jesus
In the life we live to-day?
Not much room for our Lord Jesus
Has there been, or will there be;
Room for Pilate and for Herod—
Not for Him of Calvary.
Room for pleasures—doors wide open,
And for business,—but for Him
Only here and there a manger,
Like to that at Bethlehem.
NEW PRINCE, NEW POMP.
The inns are full; no man will yield
This little pilgrim bed;
But forced He is with silly beasts
In crib to shroud His head.
Despise Him not for lying there;
First what He is inquire:
An Orient pearl is often found
In depth of dirty mire.
Weigh not His crib, His wooden dish,
Nor beasts that by Him feed;
Weigh not His mother’s poor attire,
Nor Joseph’s simple weed.
This stable is a prince’s court,
The crib His chair of state;
The beasts are parcel of His pomp,
The wooden dish His plate.
The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The Prince Himself is come from heaven:
This pomp is praised there.
With joy approach, O Christian wight!
Do homage to thy King;
And highly praise this humble pomp
Which He from heaven doth bring.
No room for Christ:—That night in Bethlehem, if Joseph had gone to some house and made them thoroughly understand that the Lord of Glory was about to be born in that village, they would have said, “Here is the best room in our house. Come in; come in. Occupy everything.” But when Joseph asked at this house and that house and the other house, they said, “No room on the floor, no room on the lounge, no room for Christ.” Ah! that has been the trouble in all the ages. The world has never had room for Him. No room in the heart, for here are all the gains and the emoluments of the world that are coming up to be enrolled, and they must find entertainment and lodging. Every passion full. Every desire full. Every capacity of body, mind, and soul full. No room for Christ. Room for all unholy aspirations, room for self-seeking, room for pride, room for Satan, room for all the concerted passions of darkness, but no room for Jesus. I go into a beautiful store. I find its shelves crowded with goods, and the counter crowded, and the floor crowded. It is crowded even to the ceiling. They have left just room enough in that store for commercial men, for bargain-makers, for those who come to engage in great mercantile undertakings, but no room in that store for Christ. I go into a house. It is a beautiful home. I am glad to see all those beautiful surroundings. I am glad to see that the very best looms wove those carpets, and the best manufactory turned out those musical instruments. There is no gospel against all that. But I find no Christ in that household. Room for the gloved and the robed; room for satin sandals and diamond head-gear; room for graceful step, and obsequious bow, and the dancing up and down of quick feet; room for all light, and all mirth, and all music; but—hear it, O thou Khan of Bethlehem—hear it, you angels who carolled for the shepherds in Bethlehem—no room in that house for Christ! No room in the nursery, for the children are not taught to pray; no room in the dining-hall, for no blessing is asked on the food; no room in the sleeping apartment, for God’s protection is not asked for the night. Jesus comes, and He retorts. He says, “I come to this world, and I find it has no room for Me; but I have room for it. Room in My heart—it beats in sympathy with all their sorrows. Room in My Church—I bought it with My blood. Room in heaven. Room in the anthem that never dies. Room in the banner procession. Room in the joys eternal. Room in the doxologies before the throne. Room for ever.” (Dr. Talmage.)
A night in a Syrian inn:—I found the house consisted of only one very lofty room, about eighteen feet square. Just within the door a donkey and a yoke of oxen stood; and I soon perceived that rather more than one-third of the room was set apart for cattle, where the floor, which was on a level with the street, was of earth, and partially strewn with fodder. Suddenly the idea entered my mind that it must have been in such a house as this that Christ was born. I imagined Joseph anxiously seeking rest and shelter for Mary after her long journey. All the guest-chambers were already filled. The raised floor was crowded with strangers who had, like them, come to be taxed. But Joseph and Mary may have taken refuge from the cold in the lower part of the room. The manger was very likely close by Mary’s side, hollowed out at the edge of the dais, and filled with soft winter fodder. I raised my head and looked at one of the mangers, and I felt how natural it was to use it as a cradle for a newly-born infant. Its size, its shape, its soft bed of fodder, its nearness to the warm fire always burning on the daïs in mid-winter, would immediately suggest the idea to an Eastern mother. (Rogers.)
No room for Jesus:—Before you utterly damn this unnamed Jewish inn-keeper and his seemingly unfeeling guests, pray be reasonable, and consider three things in abatement. (1) That you bring to the judgment a culture in the humanities which you owe entirely to this Jesus, who had not yet been born; and (2) that the inn-keeper had reasons for his conduct quite as valid as those which are perpetually allowed among men; and (3) that towards this very same Jesus you and I have behaved much worse than did these people whom we are so forward to denounce.
- As to the first. Men are generally guilty of holding their fellows to account for a measure of light and culture which those fellow-men do not possess, but which their judges do.
- But as to the second—Let us see what reasons probably influenced the inn-keeper, and whether the mass of mankind would not think those reasons quite valid. 1. He turned them off because they were not known. It is a busy time. The imperial edict for the enrolment of the provinces is bringing multitudes from the country to town. At this juncture two unknown people present themselves. One is a young woman. Her condition betrays itself. Who are they? The inn-keeper does not know them. Now, under the circumstances, would not such a reception as they received in Bethlehem be awarded to persons in similar condition at a majority of houses in Christendom on any Christmas Day? 2. Their appearance and the condition of their luggage were against them. You know what is meant by a “carpet-bag,” on one hand, and on the other by a “Saratoga trunk,” and what a bid for attention a man makes by his luggage. Little did Joseph and Mary have. The inn-keeper had his regular customers. They were substantial citizens from the neighbouring country. To bring in two strangers for a night might be to drive off a dozen good, responsible customers for ever. For you must mark that the real glory of Mary and Jesus was unknown to this tavern-keeper, and was really unsuspected. 3. They were poor and could not pay. It would have greatly increased the bill of a rich couple who should have demanded the turning of a guest from his apartments to make way for themselves in an emergency. III. Now in the third case, after you have considered the difference made in our culture by the blessed Jesus, and all the reasons which the inn-keeper had for turning Mary into the stable because he had no room for her and Jesus in the inn, before you pronounce sentence, make some little examination into the question whether we have not treated Jesus worse than He was treated in Bethlehem. The decision of that question will obviously much depend upon the space in our hearts and lives which Jesus is allowed by us to occupy. Are there not some of us who never permit Him to come upon our premises? So present is He everywhere among men by the power of His principles and His Spirit, that it is not possible to exclude Him utterly, and yet, so far as our responsibility is concerned, we do keep Him out to the whole extent of our failure to give Him a welcome to our thoughts, to our affections, and to our activities. Does He have ample welcome to all these departments of our existence? Does He have the chief place in our thoughts—the best place in our love—the largest place in our work? Is He welcomed and honoured? 1. Jesus is kept out of your heart because you do not know Him. Your ignorance is wilful. Recollect that He does not come unborn to you, as He did to the inn-keeper in Bethlehem. He comes to you with all His history of growth and beauty, of truth and activity, of self-denial and suffering, of love and power. The innkeeper of Bethlehem will rise up in the Judgment with many men of this generation and condemn them—because he turned away an unaccredited woman, and you reject the acknowledged Lord of Glory. 2. And you have the inn-keeper’s second reason: it will drive other guests away. Perhaps it would turn other guests out of your heart, perhaps not. If any depart because Jesus came, you ought to be glad of their departure. Here is a whole room full of the members of the large family of the Pleasures. They are many, and they are exacting. They take large space, for they live widely. Many of them are most deceptive, having stolen the garb and imitated the manners of the most reputable and solid Enjoyments. These latter are the most pleasant and among the most respectable guests that the heart can entertain. They will stay with Jesus, while those wild and giddy and profitless things you call Pleasures would better have no place in your affections. You were not born to be amused, but to be disciplined. And there is Business, taking up almost all your heart and head, and crowding you, and calling you, and bothering you, until you are so nervous that you can hardly eat or sleep. Room for darkness, and no room for light; room for foulness, and no room for purity; room for death, but no room for life! Every story from attic to basement crowded, and Jesus turned out into the stable! 3. But the inn-keeper sent Mary to the stable because it would not be remunerative to entertain her in his house. He would have been compelled to turn out some well-known and liberally-paying guests. You know Him to be a Prince, for whose sake every reasonable man would think it quite the proper thing to dismiss any other guest. Does not “pay” to entertain Jesus! Did you ever know a man who took Jesus into his intellect, and worked up his studies under that Great Master, and not grow in profoundness of thought and width of range of intellectual vision? Did you ever know an artist give Jesus a lodging, and not thereby have all his æsthetic nature quickened and purified and brightened? Did you ever know any man to conduct any business for Jesus, permeating his life with the Spirit of Jesus, basing his plans on the principles taught by Jesus, and laying every profitable income of his trade as a tribute at the feet of Jesus, who did not thrive and increase and have happiness along the whole line of his business career? Is He going away? It may be that your years are drawing to a close. Has He grown weary of your insulting dismissals? Stop! Lord Jesus Christ! O Son of Mary, stop! Do not leave such of the readers of this page as have said to Thee, “No room!” It must not be. I seem to hear these busy men in future knocking passionately and desperately at the gate of mercy, but without love of Jesus, and out of the solemn profoundness of eternity there comes the crushing echo, “No room!” And conscience shrieks to them, “No room! No room among the crowns and songs and glories of heaven for the hearts that had no room for Jesus!” (C. F. Deems, D.D.)
7. Because there was no room for them in the inn. We see here not only the great poverty of Joseph, but the cruel tyranny which admitted of no excuse, but compelled Joseph to bring his wife along with him, at an inconvenient season, when she was near the time of her delivery. Indeed, it is probable that those who were the descendants of the royal family were treated more harshly and disdainfully than the rest. Joseph was not so devoid of feeling as to have no concern about his wife’s delivery. He would gladly have avoided this necessity: but, as that is impossible, he is forced to yield, and commends himself to God. We see, at the same time, what sort of beginning the life of the Son of God had, and in what cradle3 he was placed. Such was his condition at his birth, because he had taken upon him our flesh for this purpose, that he might “empty himself” (Phil. 2:7) on our account. When he was thrown into a stable, and placed in a manger, and a lodging refused him among men, it was that heaven might be opened to us, not as a temporary lodging, but as our eternal country and inheritance, and that angels might receive us into their abode.
2:7 there was no guest room available for them. The Greek word traditionally translated “inn” (katalyma) normally denotes a guest room in a private house (as in 22:11); Luke uses a different word for a commercial inn in 10:34, and it is questionable whether Bethlehem was a large enough settlement to have an “inn” as such. A slightly more affluent village home might have an additional room for guests either alongside the main living room or built on the roof (cf. 2 Kings 4:10). Perhaps it was already occupied by other relatives who were in town for the census. So Jesus was born among the family in the living room (see above for the “manger”). The circumstances were humble and perhaps inconvenient in contrast to an emperor’s palace, but the scene is one of warmth and acceptance in a family home, not of rejection and squalor.
7 The word katalyma (GK 2906), usually translated “inn,” may mean a room (e.g., the “guest room” used for the Last Supper [22:11], referred to as an “upper room” in 22:12), a billet for soldiers, or any place for lodging, which would include inns (cf. L. Paul Trudinger, “ ‘No Room in the Inn’: A Note on Luke 2:7,” ExpTim 102 : 172–73). It is not, however, the usual Greek word for an inn—pandocheion (GK 4106), to which the Good Samaritan took the robbery victim (10:34). As the etymology of the word—pan (“all,” GK 4246) and dechomai (“receive,” GK 1312)—suggests, inns accepted all kinds of people, often the worst. Stories were told of discomfort and even of robberies at inns.
Luke could have painted a sordid picture, had he so desired. Instead he uses the general word for a lodging place and states the simple fact that when Mary’s time came, the only available place for the little family was one usually occupied by animals. It may have been a cave, as tradition suggests, or some part of a house or inn. Even today in many places around the world farm animals and their fodder are often kept in the same building as the family quarters. The eating trough, or “manger,” was ideal for use as a crib. Luke does not seem to be portraying a dismal situation with an unfeeling innkeeper as villain. Rather, he is establishing a contrast between the proper rights of the Messiah in his own “town of David” (v. 4) and the very ordinary and humble circumstances of his birth. Whatever the reason, even in his birth Jesus was excluded from the normal shelter others enjoyed (cf. 9:58). This is consistent with Luke’s realistic presentation of Jesus’ humanity and servanthood.
 Hultberg, A. (2017). Luke. In T. Cabal (Ed.), CSB Apologetics Study Bible (p. 1260). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Luter, A. B. (2017). Luke. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1605). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
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