Let brotherly love continue.
Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to, etc. The writer now proceeds to exhort his readers to the practice of sundry Christian virtues. He begins by enjoining the maintenance and manifestation of brotherly love.
I. THE MAINTENANCE OF BROTHERLY LOVE. "Let brotherly love continue."
1. That this affection existed is implied. That it had been exercised in former times is clear from Hebrews 10:32-34. That it was existent and active at the time when this Epistle was written appears from Hebrews 6:10.
2. That this affection was imperiled is also implied. There are several things which may check the growth and extinguish the life of brotherly love.
(1) Diversity of opinion. We are each gifted with individuality; we sometimes look at things from different standpoints; we arrive at different conclusions. This is the case in the interpretation of the sacred Scriptures, and in other matters. Differences of opinion sometimes lead to differences of feeling, to coldness and estrangement.
(2) Diversity of gifts. The great Master gives to one man five talents, to another two, and to another one. There is danger that pride in those of superior gifts, or envy in those who are less gifted, may crush this holy affection.
(3) Misunderstandings may arise amongst Christian brethren and blight their love of each other.
3. That this affection should be maintained. "Let brotherly love continue." Let it remain. Guard against those things which endanger its existence. Cherish it. This love of the brethren is not to be limited to those who belong to the same ecclesiastical community, or to those who hold the same views of Christian doctrine; it should embrace all the disciples of the Lord Jesus. "Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in uncorruptness. The importance of maintaining this affection is manifest from many Divine utterances (John 13:34, 35; John 15:12, 17; 1 John 3:11, 14-18; 1 John 4:7, 8, 11, 20, 21).
II. THE MANIFESTATION OF BROTHERLY LOVE. TWO forms in which this affection should be expressed are adduced in our text.
1. Hospitality towards strangers. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Consider:
(1) The duty. Hospitality is frequently enjoined and commended in the Bible (Matthew 10:40-42; Matthew 25:34-46; Luke 10:4-7; Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; 1 Peter 4:9). "The primitive Christians," says Calmet, "considered one principal part of their duty to consist in showing hospitality to strangers. They were, in fact, so ready in discharging this duty, that the very heathen admired them for it. They were hospitable to all strangers, but especially to those who were of the household of faith. Believers scarcely ever traveled without letters of communion, which testified the purity of their faith, and procured for them a favorable reception wherever the Name of Jesus Christ was known." In the parable of the good Samaritan the great Teacher presented to his disciples a perfect example of Christian hospitality.
(2) The motive by which we are encouraged to perform this duty. "For thereby some have entertained angels unawares." There is a reference to Abraham (Genesis 18.) and to Lot (Genesis 19.). Many a guest has proved as an angel to his entertainers, brightening the home by his presence, and leaving behind him precious memories and saving influences. The kindness we have shown to strangers has often come back to us with compound interest, and in higher and holier forms. Therefore, "forget not to show love unto strangers."
2. Sympathy towards sufferers. "Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body." Notice two points:
(1) The obligation. "Remember them," etc. All who are distressed should be remembered tenderly, sympathized with heartily, and succored as far as opportunity will allow. "Weep with them that weep." "Bear ye one another's burdens," etc.
(2) The consideration presented as an incitement to the fulfillment of this obligation. "As being yourselves also in the body." We are not beyond the reach of persecution or distress. We may be called to suffer as some of our Christian brethren are now suffering, and then we should need the sympathy which they now require. Here is a beautiful example of this sympathy. "Thomas Samson was a working miner, and working hard for his bread. The captain of the mine said to him on one occasion, 'Thomas, I've got an easier berth for you, where there is comparatively little to do, and where you can earn more money. Will you accept it?' What do you think he said? 'Captain, there's our poor brother Tregoney. He has a sick body, and he is not able to work as hard as I am. I fear his toil will shorten his useful life. Will you let him have the berth?' The captain, pleased with his generosity, sent for Tregoney, and gave him the berth. Thomas was gratified, and added, 'I can work a little longer yet.'" - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let brotherly love continue.