Angels in Underwear

As a kid, I never could understand why the Bible talked about angels in underwear. I mean, angels deserve their privacy just like everyone else, right?

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2, KJV)

Oooohhhhhh! Angels unawares. Never mind!

Angels Among Us

I’ve always been fascinated by this verse, and intrigued with the idea of being in the presence of angels without even knowing it.

  • So, was that man sitting at the intersection holding a cardboard sign that said, “Will work for food” … was that actually an angel?
  • Or, what about the family whose car was broken down on the side of the road on my way to church? Could they have been angels?

And how will we know? How can I tell if that homeless person I gave five bucks to was a person or an angel?

I think that’s where the whole “underwear” part comes in. Let me explain.

Showing Hospitality

The New International Version translates Hebrews 13:2 like this.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Think carefully about the whole point of this verse. It’s not the part about angels.

The whole point of this verse is that we are supposed to be people who are characterized by a spirit of hospitality, even toward strangers. We are supposed to be people who – like Jesus – go about doing good (Acts 10:38).

In fact, that’s our whole purpose!

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

The very reason we were created new in Jesus is to do good works.

  • So, does it really matter if the “Work for food” guy is a human or an angel?
  • Does it make any difference if that broken down family is really a bunch of angels, or just a normal family of people?

Underwear Unaware

God didn’t just say that some people have entertained angels. He said they have entertained angels unawares. They never even knew they were entertaining angels. They thought they were simply showing hospitality to people.

And that’s exactly what He wants from us – to spend our lives doing good, showing hospitality and kindness toward other people, even strangers. Maybe, just maybe, some of those strangers will actually be angels! But we will probably never even know if they were. So we just keep moving forward, fulfilling our purpose, doing good.

And wondering.

Paul O'Rear Signature

(This article was inspired by a Bible class discussion in the Young Families 2 Bible class at the Brown Street Church of Christ, led by Brad Westmoreland.)

QUICK TWEETS:

  • As a kid, I never could understand why the Bible talked about angels in underwear. (Tweet that!)
  • Angels deserve their privacy just like everyone else, right? (Tweet that!)
  • I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of being in the presence of angels without even knowing it. (Tweet that!)
  • How can I tell if that homeless person I gave five bucks to was a person or an angel? (Tweet that!)
  • I think that’s where the whole “underwear” part comes in. (Tweet that!)
  • “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers.” Hebrews 13:2 (Tweet that!)
  • “Some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 (Tweet that!)
  • We are supposed to be people who are characterized by a spirit of hospitality. (Tweet that!)
  • We are supposed to be people who – like Jesus – go about doing good. (Tweet that!)
  • The very reason we were created new in Jesus is to do good works. (Tweet that!)
  • They never even knew they were entertaining angels. (Tweet that!)
  • We just keep moving forward, fulfilling our purpose, doing good. (Tweet that!)

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