Involved with Human Need

MEMORY VERSE: “As ye have done it unto the least of one of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” —Matthew 25:40

LUKE 22:24-27

ONE of the frequent causes of trial among the disciples of Christ has been the urge on the part of some to be “great” among their brethren, and to be looked up to as special leaders whose whims and wishes must be carried out regardless of their merits. In this section Jesus sets a pattern designed to correct this evil, and throughout the age has doubtless done much along this line.

Jesus reversed the world’s viewpoint along this line, saying, “He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” Jesus asked the question, “Whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat?” This would be the worldly viewpoint, but Jesus corrected this saying, “I am among you as he that serveth” The disciples acknowledged Jesus as their Chief and Master, but probably did not recognize the basis of his greatness among them.


We cannot be involved in human needs along Christian lines without the exercise of brotherly love—Christian love, that is. And this love will prompt us, for example, to “entertain strangers.” The Scriptures indicate that among the first believers the entertainment of the brethren was quite a common practice. But here Paul is urging that “strangers” be entertained. We cannot be sure of the exact identity of these. They may have been brethren who were unknown to other brethren as they traveled from place to place.

Paul uses an example of this sort of entertaining, which he draws from Genesis chapter 18: “Some have entertained angels unawares” The reference here is to the three angels which Abraham entertained when they called upon him in order to reaffirm God’s promise that Sarah would bear him a son. These were “strangers” to Abraham until they revealed their identity, and what a blessing he must have enjoyed by exercising brotherly love toward them!

The exercise of brotherly love in connection with human needs is further exemplified, Paul writes, by remembering “them that are in bonds, as bound with them” In these early days of Christianity there was a risk attached to showing oneself on the side of those who were in prison on account of the Gospel; yet those who did this must have been a great source of comfort to the prisoners, who were their brethren in Christ.

“And them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” As Paul explains elsewhere, when one member of the body of Christ suffers, even as in the natural body, all the members suffer. The same is also true when a “member” experiences special joys in the Lord—all the members automatically rejoice with him.

JAMES 1:27

This one-verse definition of “pure religion” is unique, and very true. It is, “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,” and to keep oneself “unspotted from the world” Here again is the exercise of brotherly love. The fatherless and the widows could be thought of as those in need of care and the protection we might give them. They could be thought of as symbolic of all who are in need.

JAMES 2:14-17

Some have thought that in these verses James minimizes the importance of faith in the Christian life, but not so. He is simply emphasizing that where a real faith exists it will manifest itself in works on behalf of others. “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead,” is another of James’ expressions, for a dead faith is no faith at all.

The illustration used in the memory verse applies particularly to the people of God during the Millennial Age, though its spirit should be followed now.


Who is the greatest among the Lord’s people?

Who were the “angels” entertained by Abraham?

Quote James’ definition of “pure religion.”

Can there be true Christian faith without works?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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