"Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” ( Hebrews 13:1-2 )
Loving our brethren is the mark of a true believer. In fact this is so important that many of the New Testament writers gave instructions on this very thing. Paul said, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” ( Romans 12:9-10 ). He went on to say, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality” ( Romans 12:13 ). The Apostle John also mentioned this several times throughout all his writings. Perhaps I John 4:7 says it best, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God” ( I John 4:7 ).
This is important because loving each other, considering others before one’s self summarizes the heart of God. When asked which commandment was the greatest “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” ( Matthew 22:37-40 ). It is amazing that once the first is achieved and practiced the second happens as a result. God is love ( I John 4:8 ), therefore abiding in that love will overflow into our own lives, affect our own relationships and it is makes us complete ( I John 4:11-12 ). Which is why Paul said, “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” ( Galatians 5:14 ).
If we practice loving our brothers, not forgetting to entertain strangers, then we are caring for God’s people and being good stewards of what He has entrusted to us. As in the examples of Abraham and Lot from the book of Genesis we are encouraged by the fact that God gives us opportunities to care for people in need and represent His loving kindness to them ( Genesis 18:1-8, Genesis 19:1-3 ). Because of their hospitality both Abraham and Lot entertained angels. The result for Abraham was word that Sarah would conceive within the year. Because of Lot’s actions, he and his family were delivered from Sodom before it was destroyed. Both received blessings from their generosity.
Jesus also referred to this when teaching, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” ( Matthew 25:34-40 ). What a beautiful reminder that everything we do, we do for the Lord.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” ( I John 4:11-12 ).