The Greatest Event on the Smallest of Scales (Luke 2:6 – Dean Stanley)
And in speaking of the greatness of the event of Christmas Day, let us observe further one peculiarity of its outward circumstances that conveys to us a special lesson concerning greatness of all kinds. This decisive world-historical birthday took place in a small inn of a small village of a small province of a small nation. It was the greatest of events on the smallest of scales. There are some who think that all events and characters are to be measured by the magnitude of the stage on which they appear; there are some who are perplexed by the thought that this globe, on which the history of man is enacted, is now known to be a mere speck in the universe: there are some who are startled on learning for the first time that the heathen world far outnumbers the Christian, and that the famous Indian teacher, Buddha, counts myriads more worshippers than Christ. But the moment we go below the surface we find that the truth conveyed to us by the birth of the world’s Redeemer in the little village of Bethlehem is the likeness of a principle which ramifies far and wide. It was once said to me by a distinguished American, “The truth which needs especially to be impressed upon us Americans is that bigness is not greatness.” It was a truth which a well-known English philosopher had already impressed upon his American audience with a courage which they were honest enough to appreciate. The fact is that the great nations of the world have almost always been amongst the smallest in size. Europe is diminutive compared with any of the other continents, and yet Europe is certainly the seat and centre of the world’s history. Athens in its greatest days was as nothing compared with Babylon and Nineveh, and yet Athens was the eye of the world’s civilization. Palestine was not nearly half the size even of our own little island, and yet Palestine is the cradle of the world’s religion.
No Room for Christ in the Inn (Luke 2:7, C.H. Spurgeon)
I. 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.
II. 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 I 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?
IV. HAVE YOU ROOM FOR CHRIST?
V. 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?