Hospitality As A Means to Make Followers of Jesus

There are only a few requirements listed in the Bible for leaders (elders) of the family of God but on that short list hospitality is named. If one would ask 100 Christians to list their top ten qualifications for Christian leadership I doubt many would list hospitality and yet it does make the Holy Spirit’s top ten list.

Hospitality is an expression of the heart and nature of God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit extended to mankind an opportunity to be adopted into the family of God through Jesus coming to earth. Jesus’ ministry on earth was marked by hospitality. “Luke portrays Jesus not only as a guest at the table of others, but also as an indiscriminate host who welcomes those outside the boundaries of religious and social approval.” [1] Jesus used hospitality to connect to the poor, the wealthy, the working man and the disenfranchised in order for them to become his followers. Craig Blomberg observes:

As to the meaning of Jesus’ behavior, the unifying theme that emerges is one that may be called  contagious holiness’. Jesus discloses not one instance of fearing contamination, whether moral or ritual, by associating with the wicked or impure. Rather, he believes that his purity can rub off on them, and he hopes that his magnanimity toward them will lead them to heed his calls to discipleship. [2]

I am not a cook. But after discovering hospitality in the life of Jesus I resolved (after great consternation) to learn how to cook. A group of men I was discipling were meeting in my home each week, so I decided to cook for them. After we started eating meals together the spiritual intensity of the group and our love for one another increased immediately. The simple act of preparing a meal exhibits one’s willingness to sacrifice and create for the benefit of another which reflects the power of the cross and the new created life found in Jesus.

[1] Delmar Paez, “The Missionary Dimension of Hospitality In The Third Gospel,” Maryhill School of Theology, p.2.
[2] Contagious Holiness: Jesus’ Meals With Sinners, p. 167

One thought on “Hospitality As A Means to Make Followers of Jesus

  1. The IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels has one of the best articles I’ve ever read, on Table Fellowship.

    Among other things, it discusses Jesus’ incredible and unlikely hospitality, even when he was guest in someone else’s home. At the end of it, Jesus is described as “a roving banquet hall.” I read that 2 or 3 years ago and am still meditating on the imagery.

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