Monday, December 12, 2011

Entertaining Angels! - December 12th, 2011

1 Let brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. 3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. Hebrews 13:1-3

History and Context:
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is still unknown. Many early scholars attributed it to Paul, but modern scholars are mostly in agreement that it was not him. There are many theories ranging from Barnabas, to Apollos, to Priscilla. The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Jews and Christians to persevere in the face of persecution, but it is also known for it's unique perspective on the person of Christ.

The Text:
This is the final instructions of the author of Hebrews in his letter. He exhorts them to continue loving, to entertain strangers, and to remember the prisoners. He starts out with a exhortation to let 'brotherly love' continue. When we hear that we think immediately of our friends and family, fellow Christians, etc. But then he immediately goes into talking about entertaining strangers. Give hospitality to those you don't know. In other words brotherly love isn't just for the brothers in Christ but for everybody. Lastly he reminds them to keep in mind those who are in prison or are persecuted for the Gospel.

The Challenge:
These last two instructions are things that we, in today's society, need to learn. How many of us treat strangers differently than those who we know and are close to? Even walking down the street we will barely even acknowledge someone if we don't know them, but when we know them we smile and hug and get excited. Why can't we at least give a smile to the stranger? When we're at church or work we talk and joke with those who are our close friends but we ignore those who we haven't met yet. We should be entertaining all who come our way, even the strangers.

The other one that we, especially in the western world, need to work on is remembering the prisoners. It is easy for us to forget that there are many around the world suffering for the Gospel. Let us remember them in our prayers and continue to be grateful for the freedom that we have. If we get a chance let us also partner with those brothers and sisters around the world.

The Prayer:
Lord, help me to show your hospitality to those around me. Help me to treat strangers, as well as friends, as your children. Also be with those around the world who are suffering for you. Give them strength and support in their time of tribulation. Deliver them from their persecution. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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