Monday, December 3
High impact hospitality
Scripture: Romans 13-16
Romans 16:3–5 Give my greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my coworkers in Christ Jesus, 4 who risked their own necks for my life. Not only do I thank them, but so do all the Gentile churches. 5 Greet also the church that meets in their home.
Paul ends the letter to the Romans with a long list of greetings, including to Prisca (also called Priscilla) and Aquila, a husband and wife who appear together 6 times in the New Testament.
They first show up in Acts 18:2-3. They were driven from Rome when Claudius expelled all Jews in 49 AD and landed in Corinth where they met Paul. Since they and Paul were tentmakers, they worked together, and they opened their home to Paul who lived with them.
In Acts 18:18-19, Prisca and Aquila leave Corinth and go to Ephesus with Paul, and they stay there when Paul leaves. In Ephesus, they hosted a church in their home. 1 Corinthians 16:19.
When Apollos comes to Ephesus, Prisca and Aquila invite him to their home and “explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Acts 18:26. They help Apollos become a Christian, who in turn helped many others.
At some point, they moved back to Rome, where they again hosted a church in their home. Romans 16:3-5.
And finally, in 2 Timothy 4:19, Paul again sends greetings to them through Timothy, who was in Ephesus. Evidently they had moved back there again.
We don’t know exactly how they “risked their own necks” for Paul—although this was an idiom used for facing execution. Perhaps it was during the riot in Ephesus, or some other persecution that they saved Paul at the risk of their own lives.
We also don’t know why all the Gentile churches thank them—but perhaps it is simply because they saved Paul, the founder of those churches.
God used this couple in big ways—so much that Paul would say, “all the Gentile churches thank them.” How did God use them? One way is clear: through their hospitality! In four of the six references, we see Priscilla and Aquila opening their home. Paul moved in with them; they took Apollos to their home and discipled him; and wherever they lived, the church met at their home. Their home became a center of ministry—they viewed it as ministering currency, something to be used for God’s purposes. God used their radical hospitality to care for an apostle, to disciple an evangelist, and to host and care for the church as it made disciples. How many people owed their salvation or their discipleship to this couple? We won’t know until heaven—but it will be a lot.
All because they opened their home.
For us as Christians, our homes are not only a place of refuge away from the world, but also a place of welcome for the world, where they come to find Jesus and His love. God uses our hospitality to change lives!
1 Peter 4:9, Romans 12:13
Prayer: Lord, make us more hospitable. Help us to see our homes as centers of ministry!