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Hospitality for an itinerant preacher

Maggie Woods reflects on the impact of Jesus and his entourage arriving at
the home of Martha and Mary

Hospitality for an itinerant preacher

Scripture: Luke 10:38-42
THIS SHORT READING opens a
window into the way of life
lived by Jesus during his
ministry. As an itinerant preacher, on
the move all the time, the tradition
of Jewish hospitality would have
been important in sustaining Jesus in
his ministry. It is probable that Jesus
would have had to abandon
economic security to embark on his
ministry and rely on
others to support
him. Luke 8:1-3
mentions three
women: Mary
Magdelene, Joanna wife of Chuza
and Susannah who travelled with
Jesus and supported his ministry.
It seems that the home of Mary and
Martha was one of the places
providing a safe and comfortable
space for Jesus to rest and relax.
The Roman occupation made being
a travelling preacher a risky
undertaking so a place of sanctuary
and safety was a precious resource.
Offering hospitality is seen as a
sacred duty within the Jewish
tradition. The imperative is to treat
strangers as friends and to welcome
others into the home and
community. Abraham is depicted as
the model host (Genesis 18).
Hospitality in this
context is not just
providing food and
drink but instead is a
holistic reaching out
and engaging with. It contains the
following elements:
• A personal welcome… literally
coming outside your tent to meet
and greet your visitor
• A full sharing of what you have in
a spirit of service and care
• A willingness to show interest,
engagement and connection
• Offering aid or support as needed
even if it is inconvenient
• To create a welcoming and
comfortable climate for any guest
The imperative of the law in the Old
Testament becomes enhanced by
the New Testament message of love
for your neighbour to define
hospitality today.
Jesus would have been seen as a
sojourner or temporary resident. We
know that he accepted hospitality
from people he knew, such as
Peter´s mother-in-law (Matthew
8:14-15) and those he wanted to
reach like Zaccheus (Luke 19:5-7).
There is much to unpick in this little
snapshot of Jesus at the home of
the sisters, Martha and Mary. We
are told in John 11:5 that Jesus

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