The Real Inn Devotional
Daily Reading: (Luke 2:4-7):
“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
The popular new message going around today is that a traveler’s inn never existed that it wasn’t a lodging inn but a relative’s home. The Greek word “inn” is (kataluma). Kataluma is Greek meaning inn or lodging place. So, what some people have done is try to stretch this definition and say that a family home can be considered a lodging place (kataluma). They try to add to their argument by saying that it was custom in the Jewish culture to stay in a guest room of a family member’s home especially if you were pregnant. However, there is a Bible passage that talks about the creation of an inn for travelers in Bethlehem (Jeremiah 41:17).
“And they went on, stopping at Geruth Kimham near Bethlehem on their way to Egypt” (Jeremiah 41:17).
It is an interesting reference to a little-known location near Bethlehem that has no bearing on the story being told in Jeremiah 41.
As we study the reference to “Geruth Kimham,” an amazing picture begins to unfold for us.
Hebrew: geruth "lodging-place" (Jeremiah 41:17).
Greek: kataluma “lodging-place” (Luke 2:7).
Geruth Kimham is not a city near Bethlehem, it is an inn named after a man (Kimham) that was established near Bethlehem as a place for travelers to find shelter.
Where does Kimham come from? After the rebellion of Absalom (David’s son who stole the throne from his father), David returns to Jerusalem to be reestablished as king over the nation of Israel. David is accompanied on this return trip by many of the men who provided for him when he fled from Absalom to avoid a civil war in the streets of Jerusalem. One of those men, Barzillai the Gileadite, [2 Samuel 19:33]- has a very special place in David’s heart, and David desires to richly bless him. Barzillai refuses the offer of King David and sends a substitute in his place (Kimham) to receive a blessing.
Geruth Kimham tells the story of what can happen when a man chooses to leave his past and walk in relationship with a king. All of this points us to Jesus who would be born outside of the inn this man established. When we leave behind our past and walk in relationship with the King of Kings there is blessing to be found, and there is favor with God forever. King David blessed the man Kimham, whose only right to receive the blessing was that he didn’t say “no” when the invitation was extended. The only qualification for you to become a child of God, and have a heavenly inheritance is to say yes to King Jesus’ offer of salvation.
So the real inn (Jeremiah 41:17) has direct connection to the royal family of David, and therefore Jesus should rightfully be allowed to stay in the inn. Like the unmentioned innkeeper, when the Gospel of Jesus arrives in our lives, we will either decide to let Him in or turn Him away, stating there is no room.
The Bible says that when the time had come, Mary “brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:6–7). Did you know that the manger was a “sign”? The angel clearly said in Luke 2:12: “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” But why was that a sign? The Bible says that after Jesus’ crucifixion and death, Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a tomb hewn out of a rock (Mark 15:43–46).
Wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger, baby Jesus would one day be wrapped in linen and laid in a tomb. That was the sign the angel was referring to. The way Jesus was born was a sign that pointed to Jesus’ death. He lived to die, so that we might live and enjoy life abundantly today! Merry Christmas!