No Detour From Calvary

The following is from John Piper’s e-devotional book, Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent, December 2-25, 2012. Since the road to Calvary began in a lowly stable in Bethlehem, I thought it fitting to share this with you today as we contemplate the way Jesus willingly died for OUR sins. [Photo and text emphasis are mine.]


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 16:24).

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.

Good News of Great Joy. © 2012 Desiring God, Minneapolis, MN 55402.


5 thoughts on “No Detour From Calvary

  1. I love the way he added, “even motel capacities”! God is in TOTAL control at all times in every situation. Praise Him for sending His Son Who willingly laid down His life or ours. Hard to imagine. We should never take it lightly.


  2. “For the *JOY* that was before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame” Hebrews 12:2

    This verse always catches me with a lump in my throat. Jesus KNEW what lay ahead. He knew not only the physical agony, but the much more intense, much much dreaded, spiritual agony of becoming SIN – that abomination to Him – and being separated from His Father for the only time in all eternity, because of that sin, and enduring the agony of having His Father pour out His wrath on Him because of MY sin!

    For THAT JOY (?)

    For the JOY of redeeming a people to Him; for the joy of preparing a bride for Himself! For the JOY of receiving ME into His loving arms!


    • Wow, Cloudwatcher, you nailed it: “…but the much more intense, much much dreaded, spiritual agony of becoming SIN – that abomination to Him – and being separated from His Father for the only time in all eternity…”

      Thank you for your wonderfully insightful comment! Blessings to you this day and always!


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