Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
— Hebrews 13:2
When this passage in Hebrews was written, people were expected to show generous hospitality to travelers who might have nowhere else to stay as they went from town to town.
The context of this advice urges believers in God to show love and care for one another as well for others who may be in need, such as strangers, travelers, and people in prison. This advice echoes the words of Jesus in Matthew 25, where he teaches that caring for the needs of others is like doing the same for him.
This passage in Hebrews also invites us to consider that a stranger or visitor we encounter might be an angel—that is, a messenger from God (see also Genesis 18). The point is that we should treat anyone we meet as being so valuable and worthy of our time that they might be sent from God, and that showing love and care to them would be like doing the same for the Lord himself.
This can be hard to imagine, especially if hospitality is not common in our culture and we need to be wary of danger. But here the Spirit of God is challenging us simply to treat others well, showing love and kindness to everyone, no matter who they are. In other words, we are called to love and care for others just as the Lord has done for us.
Lord, in a world that can often be scary, help us to treat strangers as if they were sent from you. Amen.