Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hospitality Throughout Acts

Remember this?

peaceful morning

Last year I joined some fellow bloggers going through the book "Open Heart, Open Home" by Karen Mains. In one of the chapters, she challenges the reader to go through the book of Acts noting each instance of hospitality. I was intrigued by this when I read it, but did not have the time. I finally did it, and below you will see a catalog of every instance of hospitality described in Acts. There are many more instances of implied hospitality, but I did not include those because the list is long enough already!

I just think it is so very interesting that in a book about the early Church and what the Christians did, that hospitality was such a natural part of that. Instructions on hospitality are best found elsewhere in the Bible, but I believe Acts gives us the best example of what Biblical hospitality really looks like. We can see that it is integral to carrying out "the Great Commission". (Mark 16:15)

Chapter 1:
The 120 disciples (vs. 15) were waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit, which made for a rather unique experience. Not all were from Jerusalem, and surely needed accommodations and nourishment while they waited. The upper room (vs. 13) surely belonged to someone.
Chapter 2:
44 - “All who believed were together, and had all things in common.”
45- They sold their possessions so they could share with anyone who had need.
46 - The disciples were assembling daily both in the temple and were breaking bread from house to house and “They ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”
These Christians had a strong desire to be together and they did not allow hangups like language barriers, outside commitments, or even lack of funds prevent it from happening.
Chapter 4:
23, 31 - After being arrested and questioned by the Sanhedrin, Peter and John “went to their own companions” and they all prayed together.
32 - “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”
34 - 35 - “Nor was there anyone among them who lacked...” Many sold lands and houses and gave the proceeds to the apostles to be distributed “as anyone had need”.
Chapter 5:
42 - “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”
Chapter 9:
43 - After healing Dorcas, Peter “stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.”
Chapter 10:
23 - Peter provides lodging for the men sent by Cornelius the centurion
28 (11:3) - “God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean”
i.e. - no more barrier between Jew and Gentile
24; 48 - Cornelius asked Peter to stay a few days
Chapter 12:***
5, 12 - many were gathered together in the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark - they were praying for Peter who had been put in prison. (James, the brother of John had already been killed by Herod, and it was his intention to kill Peter also. vs. 2) We know that they were all praying in the middle of the night! (vs. 6)
Chapter 16: it appears this chapter involved Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke
15 - After she and her household were baptized, Lydia said, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.”
34 - After he and his household were baptized, the Philippian jailer “brought them into his house [and] set food before them.”
40 - After being released from prison, Paul and Silas went back to Lydia’s house
Chapter 17:
5 - 7 - We learn Paul and Silas were staying in the house of Jason. Jason’s house was attacked and he along with some of the brethren were dragged to the rulers of the city. Here we see hospitality at a personal risk to yourself and your home.
Chapter 18:
3 - Paul stayed with Priscilla and Aquilla because they were of the same trade, tent-making.
7 - Paul then stayed a while with Justus, “whose house was next door to the synagogue.”
11 - “And he continued there a year and six months...”
20 - In Ephesus, “they asked him to stay a longer time with them...”
27 - “And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him...”
Chapter 20:
7 - 8 - Paul was speaking in an “upper room” where many were gathered together “and continued his message until midnight”.
18 - Paul says, “In what manner I always lived among you...” He did not take any income for his work for the Lord (1 Cor. 9:15-18, 2 Thess. 3:7-8), relying on his tent-making and the generous hospitality of the Christians in every city.
20 - “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house.”
33 - 35 - Paul on providing for the needs of others: “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.
Chapter 21:
16 - Paul and Luke met Mnason of Cyprus “an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge”.
17 - “When we had come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.”
Chapter 27:
3 - Paul is on his way to Rome for trial. “And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him liberty to go to his friends and receive care”.
Chapter 28:
7 - Shipwrecked on the island of Malta, “there was an estate of the leading citizen of the island whose name was Publius, who received us and entertained us courteously for three days”.
10 - “They also honored us in many ways; and when we departed they provided such things as were necessary.”
14 - Landing at Puteoli, “we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days.”
15 - “And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us... When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.”
23 - Jewish leaders in Rome visited him at his lodging where he “explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God... from morning till evening.”
30 - “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ...”

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