What Does Hebrews 13:2 Mean?

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

While the title and content of Hebrews suggest that its initial audience were immature converts from Judaism, who were in danger of leaving their Christian faith and returning to the Law of Moses, the subject matter, instructions, and warnings offered in Hebrews are equally pertinent to the Hellenistic, Jewish population of early Christendom as well as Christians of today, who have a legalistic teacher, or trust in a works-based salvation message.

The book of Hebrews cautions believers, who have a tendency to live under the Old Testament Law, or who are being led into legalism to beware of drifting away from the truth of the gospel of grace or remaining in spiritual infancy. Rather, we are exhorted to be steadfast in our faith and press on towards spiritual maturity. We are to hold fast to the whole counsel of God and the Gospel of grace. We should be careful to take note of the warnings this book contains and apply the instructions it gives.

Having laid out some important teaching on post-cross Christianity, the final chapter of Hebrews gives an important overview of the actions and attitudes that believers should foster in everyday life. We are to engage in brotherly love unceasingly and empathise with our persecuted brethren in prison and we are to care for those that are ill-treated for righteousness' sake, because we are all members of the same body - the Body of Christ.

We are to be holy and hospitable in all our conduct, at home, and in the wider community for the day is coming when Christ will judge the living and the dead. Our behaviour should be friendly; congenial, gracious, and welcoming and we should be free from the love of money and the lust of the flesh. We should always be content with what we have, knowing that the Lord Jesus Himself is our Helper and has promised, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you."

In verse 2 we read:- "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels unawares." While we recognise that the Lord often sends His human messengers to help, encourage, support, and provide for our needs, and rejoice when they visit us, it is quite likely that the author of Hebrews was referring to heavenly messengers - angelic ministers. In Hebrews chapter 1 we read that holy angels of God are used by Him as ministering spirits, who are sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation - they are commissioned, by God, to be of service to those that are His children - by faith in Christ. 

The people of Israel were well aware that it was through God's holy angels that much of the Law was delivered to Moses, and many heard the testimony of the Bethlehem shepherds, when Christ was born, or who were acquainted with Zechariah, who had been visited by an angel to inform him of the birth of his son, John - a voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord. Many witnessed the angelic messengers of hope that were sent to the empty tomb and early Church-age saints were also aware the Lord sent an angel to bring Peter out of the Roman prison.

Those believers in the early Church were well acquainted with the concept of angels - but needed to learn that even in their lives God still sends messengers - both human and angelic to minister to His people... and they were to always show hospitality to visiting strangers - just as Abraham did. Loving hospitality to strangers and a caring, Christian love, for those close to us, should be the hallmark of all believers, for God may send holy angels, family members, strangers who come to our door, or people we interact with in the street as ministering spirits to encourage, exhort, teach, correct, reproof, correct or instruct in righteousness.

This truth that some strangers we encounter today could be messengers sent from God is no less true today, than it was when Peter was led from his prison cell by an angel or when the disciples heard from those two men, clothed in white, that Jesus will return in like manner as they saw Him go. May we make it our daily practice to show hospitality to strangers and exhibit genuine, loving-kindness to all we meet - for who knows maybe we also have entertained angels unaware - or maybe we will encounter one in the coming days. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, it is thrilling to think that I may have helped, provided for, or entertained an angel unawares in my life. How wonderful to read in the Bible of angels being sent to earth by You as messengers and protectors and that we read of them worshipping You and rejoicing over one sinner who repents. And while the study of angels is fascinating, may I never take my focus off You, Lord. May I lift up my voice together with the angels and all the host of heaven to praise and worship You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Choose a Verse from Hebrews 13