One of our friends loves to explain the origin of the word hospitality. Notice, this word includes the word hospital. He likes to define the experience of hospitality as leaving somewhere better than when you arrived, whether that’s someone’s home, an event, or merely a personal interaction.
We all know the sweet relief of someone putting our insecurity to rest with a warm welcome, and sending us on our way better than how we came.
When we turn from the Old to the New Testament of the Bible, a man named Jesus enters the scene. His cousin looks at him from a distance and identifies him as the promised rescuer “who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29 ESV). The four Gospels in the Bible identify this man as God who became man, to suffer, die, and rise from the dead, so that he could do us an incredible service—bring people back to God (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus is the ultimate hospital. He came to heal our wayward, sinful, sick hearts, to make us into new people who have his same heart. He came to change us into people with whom he can share his heart. Meaning, to know him, we first have to understand that we need him.
This Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13 ESV).
The church refers to the group of people who know that they are sinners in need of a Savior, who have believed in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins—who have personally experienced his hospitality.
Contrary to popular opinion or the experience of many, the true church is a group of people who are not “put-together.” Biblically speaking the church refers to those who go to Jesus to be put back together—made entirely new actually (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:3).
Jesus isn’t for the self-righteous and self-sufficient, the needless, and the okay. Jesus is the sinner’s hope, the sufferer’s strength, and the sorrowful’s comfort. His people, the church, are those who have received his eternal hospitality, and who then live to welcome others into the home of Christ through faith in him.
As those who have received the mercy of God through Jesus Christ, our mission is to tell others of his great love for them, whether that’s family, neighbors, or people around the world (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 20:24; Philippians 3:8).
Jesus tells a religious leader of his time, “whoever has been forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47 NIV). Because we have been forgiven of an eternal debt of sin against a holy and good God, and have been welcomed by God as his children, as his family and friends, we love him!
And through his Word, the Bible, we come to know him better day by day and become more like him as he lives in us and changes us.
What is called “Christianity” is not a religion, it’s a relationship with God himself through the person of Jesus. It’s a life inside the hospital of Christ, where first we are served, and then we join him in his service to others.
We are his hands and feet to the hurting—his body—people bought with his blood, and out of our great love for him, we desire you to belong to his church too. Jesus can give you the sweet relief of forgiveness and eternally put to rest the insecurity you have before Almighty God. But he won’t merely do that. He’ll also welcome you into his home—forever. But you must come as a sinner in need of the Savior; you must let him serve you, and trust him to send you off better than you came.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23 ESV)