Friday, February 10, 2017

Let Brotherly Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them — those who are mistreated — since you yourselves are in the body also. (Hebrews 13:1-3 NKJ)

The book of Hebrews was mainly about the superiority of Jesus Christ over the Old Testament prophets and religious systems. In concluding his message, the writer of the book admonished his audience to let brotherly love continue. The Greek word (filadelfia) translated "brotherly love" in most English translations of the Bible can mean mutual love of brothers (and sisters) or "love for one's fellow believer, affection for a fellow believer." It is in contrast with another Greek word (agapee) also translated "love" which is the unconditional and unparallel love that God has for the mankind. The implication of the admonition was that brotherly love already existed among the Hebrews that the book was addressed to. So, it must continue and the continuation should have no end. The writer of the book went ahead to give two explanations on how to demonstrate brotherly love (Hebrews 13:2-3). One, by entertaining strangers: he inferred to Abraham who unknowingly entertained angels (see Genesis 19). Two, by caring for the less privileged: Jesus Christ alluded to this in one of His parables (see Matthew 25:34-46). There are other ways of making brotherly love continue among us.

It is evident from these two ways of demonstrating brotherly love that the "brother" that one is to love may not necessarily be a sibling or a fellow believer (as a commentator put it) or somebody of common interest, but anyone that one can help at a given time. The Samaritan in the popular parable of the Good Samaritan has been a classic example of demonstration of brotherly love (see Luke 10:25-37).

Many people would say that they love God, and they are ready to do anything for Him. However, do they love their fellow "brother"? Such people are hypocrites! Apostle John said, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen" (1 John 4:20 NIV).

A very important reason why one should let brotherly love continue is that one may on one occasion or the other be at the receiving end of such love. The "strange" stranger who leads the love or care may be YOU!

Do you have brotherly love? Be ready to demonstrate it to anyone that comes your way. Let brotherly love continue! Bayo Afolaranmi

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