No Room In The Inn -- By: William H. Myers

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 22:0 (NA 1990)
Article: No Room In The Inn
Author: William H. Myers


No Room In The Inn

William H. Myers

This is a chapel address delivered by Dr. Myers, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies/New Testament at ATS.

“And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manager, because there was no space for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7)

As we approach the Yuletide season in which people all over the world get caught up in the holiday that recognizes the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I find myself drawn once more to this passage.

With merely three words — “she gave birth” — Luke captures in a rather uneventful way the most important birth in the history of the world. Even if some wish to debate whether he was Luke the physician, Paul’s companion, obviously Luke was not a woman. Any woman would tell you that giving birth is far more eventful than Luke’s account allows. Although I hate to admit it, such a narration cuts at the heart of my well-argued thesis elsewhere that Luke was a black Baptist preacher. Every true-born black Baptist preacher that I know would give this scene all the color he could muster, and he would milk it for every amen available.

However, our knowledge of Luke as a crafty theological historian leads us to believe that something is up. He is no mere compiler of data; no mere chronicler of events no mere historian enamored with history for historicity sake. He is no mere preacher that just has to say something, he is a preacher that has something to say. He is a theologian with his own inimitable style, quite different than the other Synoptics. Therefore, we are left with the impression that Luke doesn’t merely want to merely narrate the historicity of Jesus’ birth.

One quickly observes that this apparently dry chronicle is surrounded by passages that have angels flying around everywhere. Luke loves angels you know; he has more angels flapping their wings as they speed through the air faster than a bullet, than any other gospel account. Furthermore, these angels always seem to be carrying messages to someone. Now one would think that an angel is far more important, far more capable than merely delivering the mail. You know, they could pass time with important and exciting things; like throwing devils out of heaven and chaining them down, something really heavy-duty.

Before our passage we notice Gabriel telling Mary that she will bear Jesus who shall save generations of people. Also he tells Zechariah that Elizabeth, his wife, would bear John, and he would prepare the people for Jesus’ coming.

Following our passage, another angel appears to shepherds in the field at night proclaiming that the sto...

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