Gospel Message & Recording
Many topics and themes can be extrapolated from the “Feeding of the Five Thousand”, recorded in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 14. There are several metaphorical and theological ideas hidden within this well-known miracle of Jesus Christ. But here I want to demonstrate how the compassion of Christ led him to be hospitable to those that were following His ministry.
The Gospel of Matthew records that there were a multitude of people following Jesus at that particular point in His ministry. He was indeed the popular healing evangelist of his time. As He saw the people gathered there, the Gospel says, “He was moved with compassion for them.” This “feeling” of compassion is something that our Lord felt. This also shows that Jesus was fully human in that he had similar feelings like us. Compassion moved Jesus to heal the sick and miraculously multiply the five loaves of bread and two fish. The compassion that Jesus displayed is not something we as humans are born with. Yes, we have the image of God inside of us; and there is some “goodness” that we are born with; but to have the genuine compassion that Jesus demonstrated is something that’s developed through a strong prayer life and deep relationship with God.
Through this compassion Jesus was able to show hospitality toward the crowd that stayed with Him when it was drawing close to evening. For Christ, letting the crowd go untouched, unhealed, or unfed was out of the question. Christ’s hospitality was an outworking of his compassion. We as Christians—followers of Christ—need to develop the art of hospitality. I write this knowing that I too need growth in this area. So, let us together learn how we can become more hospitable.
First, when guests enter our home we should greet them and make them feel welcome. In one of my routine pastoral home visits, the whole family came to the door to greet me. I was filled with a sense of joy knowing that everyone in the household stopped what they were doing and greeted me at the door. This also gave me a sense of value, that is, they wanted me in their home.
Second, we should always offer our guests something to drink or eat. Remember Jesus first healed the sick in the crowd but as night drew near He fed them because He didn’t want them going home hungry. Similarly let no one entering out home leave hungry. Further, we shouldn’t let money, the time of day, or our discomfort, restrict us from offering food or drink.
Third, if social conditions permit, we should pray before our guests leave. Our guests should always have a sense that our home is a “house of prayer.” Also, it allows us to witness our faith. Further, within the actual prayer, we should pray for the guests by name, asking God to protect and bless them.
Fourth, if weather permits, we should walk our guest out to their car and see them off. This provides a sense of closure for our guests. Further it shows that we want to wish them a safe and happy journey, waving bye as they drive away in their car.
Finally, I should note that this is a perspective that I didn’t learn on my own but from my wife of seven years, Linju. She is often referred to as the quiet and reserved Kochamma. But she is far from quiet and reserved when a guest is in our home. There, her true gifting of hospitality shines forth.
To my wife of seven year (July 5th). Happy Wedding Anniversary!