With the current refugee crisis in focus, it is no surprise that many people have written magazine articles and blog posts about the fact that Jesus was a refugee. Fleeing a tyrannical king, bent on murder, Joseph, Mary and the young child headed for Egypt and stayed there until the king died and they could return home.
The story is straight forward and as Christians, followers of a refugee, we should be prepared to help those who are fleeing tyranny and worse. Take a look at this post by Steve Holmes if you want to explore the biblical background for this.
However, I’d like to push things a little further by taking us back to the introduction to John’s Gospel.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.
It is easy to assume that when Joseph and his family settled in to life in Nazareth, all of the hassle was over. They’d survived the murder attempt by a power mad king and could now get on with normal life. However, John reminds us that Jesus was rejected by his own people; by the ones you would have expected to take him to heart.
We know next to nothing about Jesus’ childhood, but we do know that during the few short years of his ministry, Jesus managed to upset just about every section of the community until a great crowd were baying for his execution. According to Luke’s account, people tried to take him out and stone him after his very first sermon (and I thought preaching class at Bible College was tough!)
Not only was Jesus a refugee as a child, he was also rejected by society as an adult. Actually, these are two sides of the same coin; Jesus birth threatened king Herod and his ministry threatened the wider establishment of the day. Jesus shakes things up.
Yes, we should be helping those who are refugees; that is our duty as Christians. However, we should be doing more than this; we, too, in the footsteps of our master should be out of step with our current society. The values of the world we live in are not the values of Jesus. It is our calling to help create a different society, one which models the Kingdom of God to a sceptical world. We won’t necessarily be popular for doing this; but if the world rejects us, we are in good company.