Jesus: The Paradigm for all our Hospitality

October 11, 2017

My previous post identified God’s plan to bring estranged people into his family as the greatest act of hospitality the world had ever seen. That plan, in a word, was Jesus. With Jesus’ appearance on the pages of history, everything changed for those who were once alienated from God. Jesus is the embodiment of hospitality (the love of strangers), and from the earliest moments of his earthly ministry he showed us God’s hospitable heart.

He showed us God’s hospitable heart in his care for the sick and dying. He didn’t even turn away those with the infectious disease of leprosy, repulsed as He could have been. He gave to the poor. When he looked out on the multitudes of people following him, he didn’t wrinkle his nose at their filth or roll his eyes at their ignorance, but filled with compassion, he put their needs above his own. He was often exhausted and hungry. He was desperate to be alone in prayer, but he continued to love these strangers–healing them, feeding them, teaching them, touching them, engaging them, and forgiving them. No one was below his notice: not the little children who flocked to his side, not society’s outcast at the well in Samaria, and not the “sinners and tax collectors” with whom he broke bread in their homes. Jesus welcomed those with questionable reputations, even permitting a former prostitute to touch him by washing away the dirt from his feet–as surely as he would cleanse the stain of her sin as he hung dying on that cross. In the hours before his death, we find Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. We follow him into the garden and hear his fervent prayer for all his disciples as he awaits his arrest, trial and execution. And then in his final breaths he pardons a thief and calls upon His Father to pardon his own murderers.
Jesus, sent by God as the greatest act of hospitality the world had ever seen, was himself hospitable to the last. It is in his life and death that we find the paradigm for our own hospitality.

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