Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.
“I always have one extra plate at my table,” said a Christian woman long ago. “The command is, ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ As I never know when the angels will come, I think it wisest to be always ready and waiting for them.”1
For centuries, Hebrews 13:2 has inspired Christian hospitality; and it used to be a common custom to set an extra plate at supper in case someone dropped by.
In Genesis 18, three strangers showed up at Abraham’s tent. One was the Lord Himself (the pre-incarnate Christ) and the other two were angels on a mission to judge Sodom and Gomorrah. They appeared fully human, but they were anything but. Abraham and Sarah entertained them and set an example for us. Could it be that in helping a stranger, smiling at a visitor, or befriending a newcomer, we are ministering to an angel? The Bible supports that possibility. It’s a good reason to be kind to everyone you meet today.
Messengers from God brought a greater blessing than they received. Whoever entertained a servant of the Lord entertained the Lord Himself.
Holman New Testament Commentary on Hebrews 13:2