Jesus was a refugee








“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20

We are stardust; we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden – Joni Mitchell

I’m only visiting this planet. — Larry Norman


The kingdom of God is made up of refugees.

When you start thinking about refugees in the Bible, it’s hard to find anyone who was not, at least at one time, a refugee.

You’ve got the children of Israel in exile numerous times — it was always their fault, but it still happened. Most of the prophets were homeless. I suppose you could say that Adam and Eve (and through them — all of us) are refugees from the garden, and that’s not a joke. We’ve been displaced from the beginning, and we’ve been looking for our home ever since. Larry Norman was only visiting this planet. (He’s back home now.)

But for the clearest example of a refugee in the New Testament you need go no further than Jesus, who grew up in a home in Nazareth, but left there when He started His ministry and never looked back. He and His disciples were vagabonds by all rights for three years. You never hear of them getting together to study the Torah at Jesus’s place.

The Bible says that He left His throne and came as a refugee to the human race. He had a home in heaven but He left it to come to us. He was a refugee from God who came to identify with us, and His identification was with the lowest of the low.

Why? Because He wanted to remind everyone that His kingdom was not of this world. Had He come in earthy power and glory He would have sown confusion and forced His kingdom to vie with worldly, earthly kingdoms for power, but that was never His intent. His kingdom was and is on an entirely different level.

I think that He also identified with the refugee because of empathy. He wanted to understand what it was like to be the lowest, because these were His kind of people.  He was going to make a kingdom out of these folks. (We have to realize, when we see the homeless and the refugee, that these people are closer to the kingdom of God — without even trying — than most of us are.)

The Pharisees rarely invited Jesus over because of the crowd that came with Him. They were embarrassed by these people (like we might have been); Jesus was right at home. His will has always been to lift up the lowly and bring down the proud. He’s building His kingdom and it is not of this world. We may need to adjust some of our thinking, because the kingdom of God is made up of refugees.

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4 Responses to Jesus was a refugee

  1. Alma Siemens says:

    Yes we are all refugees, seeking refuge in the only one who offers a permanent home. When you mentioned Jesus’ refugee status my mind immediately went to the hasty trip to Egypt when He was a young child. I have trouble with the idea that He was a refugee from His Father’s house. This world was definitely not a refuge. He came on an intentional mission and lived like a refugee but He did not flee from His Father. Just a thought. 🙂

  2. Peter Leenheer says:

    Jesus lived the life of a homeless person, as you intimate. during his ministry. He himself said the son of man has no place to lay his head. Women who were wives of influential men gave money to his cause. These women also followed him where ever he went. Judas Iscariot looked after the donations, theirs and no doubt others. He lived what he said, look at the flowers of the field they live yet do nothing to keep themselves alive. Total dependence on God His Father.
    I have a sense that Jesus was a homeless person who grabbed the attention of people because he was not a typical vagabond, but one who brought an uplifting message and did miracles. He was God/man outside of the box.
    Yes he was a refugee, or an outcast or some persona non grata…much like he unfortunately still is today. How else could he relate to those in need. The Pharisees did not need him.

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