No Detour from Calvary

And while they were there, the time came for her to
give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn 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


Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an

empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he

surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a

wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the

wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in

Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and

saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what

he willed to do.


God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your

sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the

motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he

became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

God rules all things—even motel capacities—for the sake

of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy”

sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of

the cross in Jerusalem.
And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come

after me must deny himself and take up his cross” (Matthew



We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say,

“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater

than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you”

(John 15:20).


To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you

wherever you go!” (Matthew 8:19). Jesus responds, “Foxes have

holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has

nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).


Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his

birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

John Piper, Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, p. 9-10

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