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The Guest-chamber

The Shunammite was "a great woman". A holy man of God was passing by continually and she saw the need to show him hospitality. She suggested to her husband that they make "a little chamber in the wall". He agreed, and that little chamber with its bed, table, stool and candlestick became the resting place of Elisha, the man who "poured water an the hands of Elijah". A guest-chamber far one of the weary of God's people; and a choice setting for Peter's gem in 1 Peter 4:9, "Using hospitality one to another without murmuring". What a delightful work of age-long pleasure to the Lord, dating it may be from even earlier times than Genesis 18 when even angels were entertained unawares l May the mounting "cares of the world" be prevented from choking this gracious exercise among us today.

There was a guest-chamber in the upper flat of a Jerusalem home (Luke 22:7-13). In its New Testament setting the Greek word katafumo "signifies (a) an inn, lodging place, Luke 2:7; (b) a guest-room, Mark 14:14; Luke 22:11. The word lit. signifies a loosening down (kata, down, luo, to loose), used of the place where travellers and their beasts untied their packages, girdles and sandals" (W.E. Vine). As an inn the word is used exclusively in association with Immanuel's resting place an the night of His coming into the world. As a "guestroom" it is used exclusively of His resting place on the last night of His pilgrimage here.

The Jerusalem guest-chamber was in a very real sense that night the place of unloosening. Peter and John had followed the instructions regarding the man bearing a pitcher of water. "Go ... meet... follow". His menial action was indicative also of the grace of the other Man they followed. And during supper the Lord Jesus rose, laid aside His garments, girded Himself with the towel, then washed the disciples' feet. We are thankful for Peter's protest far it brought from the Lord the delightful teaching of the two kinds of spiritual washing. But beyond all, we are deeply grateful far the Master's example in the sphere of gentle lowliness. "I Am" was still in the midst of His people. but here "as One that serveth". So He unloosed His garments, served, and then took His garments again in a love which loved to the uttermost.

But in addition, the Jerusalem guest-chamber was the scene that night of an unloosening in a spiritual sense. It was the unlossening of the dispensations. Far the last time the Lord kept the Passover, nor do we read of His disciples ever keeping it again. It had been the great yearly act of remembrance in the era of the first Covenant; but that Covenant was now growing

old and would shortly vanish away. And during the Passover supper the Lard instituted the breaking of the bread. That was to continue as the great weekly act of remembrance in the era of the New Covenant until His return. So after sunset, in the early hours of the day He died; it was as though the Lard, the Framer of the ages, unloosed the old dispensation and brought in the new. Honoured guest-chamber indeed, and honoured "good man of the house"!