THE palace, the forum, and the inn, had no room for Christ; have you room for Him? “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 your worthiness; have you room for Him? “Oh!” says another, “I have an aching void the world can never fill.” Ah! I see that you have room for Christ. “Oh, but the room I have in my heart is so base!” So was the manger at Bethlehem. “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 great sinner; I feel as if my heart had been a den of evil beasts.” Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed.
I repeat the question, — Have you room for Christ in your heart? Newer mind what your past life has been; He can forget: and forgive. It mattereth not what even thy present state may be if thou sincerely mournest thy sinfulness. 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 Gospel message is, “To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation ;” “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Make room for Jesus! Make room for Jesus now! “Oh!” saith one, “I have room for Him, but will He come to me?” Will He come? Do you but set the door of your heart open, do you but say, “Jesus Master, all unworthy and unclean, I look to Thee; I trust in Thee; come Thou, and dwell within my heart;” and He will come to thee, and He will cleanse the manger of thy heart; nay, more, He will transform it into a golden throne, and there He will sit and reign for ever and ever. I rejoice that I have such a free Christ, such a precious loving Jesus to make known; One who is willing to find a home in every humble heart that will receive Him. Oh! it will be a happy day for you when you shall be enabled to take Him in your arms, and receive Him as the Consolation of Israel. You may then look forward even to death with joy, and say, with good old Simeon, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
My Master wants room; and I, as His herald., cry aloud, “Room for the Savior! 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? Here 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 to your soul, will never go out again; but will abide with you for ever, to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss through His presence? Have you not room for Him?” That is all He asks, room. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your want of feeling, your want of goodness, your want of grace, -- all these will be but room for Him.
John tells us that, “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God;” and in the last great day, the Lord Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “I was a stranger, and ye took Me in.” Is it not a strange thing that “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him,” and yet He was a stranger in it? Yet it is not a whit more strange than true; for, when He was born, there was no room for Him in the inn.
Inns had open doors for ordinary strangers, but not for Him; for He was a greater stranger than any of those who were around Him. It was Bethlehem of David, the seat of the ancient family to which He belonged; but, alas! He had become “a stranger unto His brethren, and an alien unto His mother’s children,” and no door was opened unto Him.
Soon, there was no safe room for Him in the village itself, for Herod the king sought the young Child’s life, and He must flee into Egypt, to be a stranger in a strange land, and worse than a stranger, — an exile and a fugitive from the land whereof by birthright He was King. On His return, and on His appearing in public, there was still no room for Him among the great mass of the people. He came to His own Israel, to whom prophets had revealed Him, and types had set Him forth; but they would not receive Him. “He was despised and rejected of men.” He was the Man “whom men abhorred ;” whom they so much detested that they cried, “Away with Him!
Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Jew and Gentile conspired to prove how truly He was a stranger; the Jew said, “As for this fellow, we know not from whence He is;’“ and the Roman asked Him, “Whence art Thou?”
Perhaps the strangest thing of all, and the greatest wonder of all, is that this Heavenly Stranger should be willing to be received by us, and that He should deign to dwell in our hearts. Such an One as Jesus in such an one as I am! The King of glory in a sinner’s bosom! This is a miracle of grace; yet the manner of accomplishing it is simple enough. A humble, repenting faith opens the door, and Jesus enters the heart at once. Love shuts to the door with the hand of penitence, and holy watchfulness keeps out intruders.
Thus is the promise made good, “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”
Meditation, contemplation, prayer, praise, and daily obedience, keep the house in order for the lord; and then follows the consecration of our entire nature to His use as a temple; the dedication of spirit, soul, and body, and all their powers, as holy vessels of the sanctuary; the writing of “Holiness unto the Lord” upon all that is about us, till our every-day garments become vestments, our meals sacraments, our life a ministry, and ourselves priests unto the Most High God. Oh, the supreme condescension of this indwelling of Christ! He never dwelt in angel, but He resides in a contrite spirit. There is a world of meaning in the Redeemer’s words concerning His disciples, “I in them.” May we know the meaning of them as Paul translates and applies them, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”!
The moment Christ is received into our hearts by faith, we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith; for the Lord adopts us, and puts us among His children.
It is a splendid act of Divine grace, that He should take us, who were heirs of wrath, and make us heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Such honor have all the saints, even all that believe on Christ’s Name.
Then, when Christ is in us, we search out opportunities of bringing prodigals, strangers, and outcasts to the great Father’s house. Our love goes out to all mankind, and our hand is closed against none; if so be we are made like to God, as little children are like their father. Oh, sweet result of entertaining the Son of God by faith! He dwells in us, and we gaze upon Him in holy fellowship; so that “we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” “Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” May we daily feel the power of Jesus within our hearts, transforming our whole character, and making us to be more and more manifestly the children of God! When our Lord asks concerning us, “What manner of men were they?” may even His enemies and ours be compelled to answer, “As Thou art, so were they: each one resembled the children of a King.” Then shall Jesus be admired in all them that believe, for men shall see in all the children of His great family the Divine Stranger’s gracious and glorious handiwork.