Epistle to the Hebrews (13:2-3)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” Hebrews 13:2-3

At the time the author was speaking there were probably not many inns where people could stay. We are living in a corrupted society and for security reasons no one likes to take the risk to host strangers in his home. The author is probably making allusion to strangers serving God. For example, Abraham and Lot hosted strangers without knowing they were angels.

When I was on a mission trip this year, a family hosted me and some other team members. What marked me was their attitude in caring for me. It was not really about what they could offer but about their willingness to help. It cost them their time, energy and money to host me and they did it with all their heart. This couple and children did much sacrifice and this is something I could not repay back. It was not about money but about the host’s attitude for demonstrating hospitality.

Still on the mission trip, I did not have the opportunity to visit prisoners but some of my team members were able to. Their visit at prison marked them for life. Going there and experience the atmosphere was a unique experience. We could all have been behind the bars if Christ did not snatch us from our depravity. A fit of rage could have led us to make an unrepairable mistake like crime of passion. Without the Spirit in us to tame us, we don’t know if we would have had issues with law today. Some people in prisons did a stupid mistake during the immature days of their youth and now they are behind the bars.

Some have been caught up with drugs due to bad influence or poverty. No one wants to go to jail. Being deprived of his liberty is a very hard blow for a man. Many prisoners regret what they did but unfortunately it’s too late. The author is not asking us to get people out of prison but rather visit them. Show them love even though they are despised by the society. Remember you were also a prisoner of sin and it’s not something you’re proud of(Eph 2:1-3). One day someone visited you in your spiritual prison to present you Christ. Christ has redeemed you and you now have spiritual liberty. Think of those who are physically deprived of their liberty and are imprisoned in their sins. A prisoner is often stigmatized by the society and still unloved when released.  Remember you could also have been one of them if you were in similar situations as them. I had the opportunity to visit drug addicts in a detoxification centre. These people resemble you and I but the difference is that they are trapped in a vice and shouting for help. They know that by themselves they are unable to leave their drugs and alcohol. They are miserable men and women. They saw their families destroyed by their own hands. These men love their wives and kids and miss them. It is so easy to judge and despise these people. But listen to their story. Ask them what led them to that state. Ask them what happened while under influence of drugs/alcohol. I saw a man whose legs and hands were broken and was almost dead when alcohol was flowing in his veins. No one takes pleasure to suffer like that. But the fact is that these people messed up somewhere and we cannot just wash our hands. They need Jesus, they need hope, peace and love. Who can pass on this genuine hope and love if not us who have the Spirit indwelling us? Think also about those who suffer and persecuted unfairly.  When you’re in prison or addicted to drug, your status no longer matters. You’re trapped and imprisoned. Let us go back to the basics brothers and sisters. We often boast about the great events organised in our churches or how great the sermon was. But remember the poor, remember the prisoners and those enslaved in vices. I am personally guilty of failing to pass on Christ’s love. Jesus said that it’s a serious offense unto Him if we never visited one of His followers who was jailed. He portrayed it as such:

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!’“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” Mat 25:40-46

Demonstrate consideration and care for those who are stigmatised and tagged by the society as “problems”. Jesus came to save sinners irrespective of who they are and what they did.

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Posted September 7, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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