In Matthew, chapter 8, a “teacher of the law” offers to follow Jesus wherever he goes. A simple suggestion, but one that poses a dilemma, because … Jesus has no home. Or as verse 20 puts it, more poetically: “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Jesus was a refugee. A homeless refugee.
And Jesus consciously set in train a long line of refugees, a line that has stretched through two millennia. In Matthew 10:23, Jesus predicts neither wealth nor power nor even happiness for his followers, but rather persecution: “You will be hated by all because of My name.” But Jesus offers this solution to that problem: “Whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next.” (Matthew 10:24). In other words, become a refugee.
Jesus also foresaw that the holy temples in Judea would be occupied and desecrated, presumably by foreign invaders. His answer was not to rebel, nor wage war. His answer was to walk away – far away. Specifically, he suggested that “those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:16). In other words, become refugees.
In Jesus’s time, there were no borders, or border patrols. There were neither passports nor visas. There was no Customs and Immigration Service. If you were persecuted or in danger, then you would just tie your belongings to your donkey, and you would leave. And wherever you went, no one would even think of turning you away or hurting you, simply because you were from somewhere else. That’s what the people of Sodom did to Lot (Genesis, chapter 19), and look at what happened to them.
It’s now 2000 years later. We have refugees in our time, too. Have our moral standards improved since then? Have they?
Don’t ask Donald Trump.
Rep. Alan Grayson