The Jews believed that God sometimes sent angels in disguise to test whether people were obeying the law of hospitality. They knew that this had happened to Abraham (Genesis 18:2-13) and to Gideon (Judges 6:17-22), and they believed therefore that the same thing might happen to them (Hebrews 13:2). This style of thinking gave rise to problems as well as opened the way for revelation. Many Jews thought that if they were in the house of God then they would be under God’s protection, and as a result tended to be careless in their daily living (Jeremiah 7:14). They did not realize that the glory of God had departed from the Temple and that it was no longer, therefore, the house of God (Ezekiel 11:23).
So important was hospitality that Jews looked upon the final blessing as a great banquet held by God himself (Zephaniah 1:7) and the same them was taken up by Jesus in the parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son” (Matthew 22:2-14).
In New Testament times, refusal to give hospitality amounted to rejection (Matthew 10:14), and it was therefore essential for Christians to give hospitality (Galatians 6:10; 1 Peter 4:9).
Although such a practice gave moral protection in view of the character of many inns and in view of the fact that many Christians had to leave their own homes because of persecution, it was more than this: “hospitality” Is Philoxenia, a “love for others.”
It was particularly important for preachers of the time who had given up their livelihood so that they could preach the gospel (3 John 5-8). They were to be given hospitality for several days, and then encouraged to move on to another place (Acts 9:43; 16:15; Romans 16:2). Once could not be recognized as a leader in a church unless one was hospitable (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8).