in light of our president’s executive orders in his first week in office, and the ensuing chaos, we may have different opinions on the best way to implement immigration policy. that is expected. there are certainly many more qualified than me to make that assessment. in regards to that, this seemed one of the more balanced approaches to the concerns.
however, as believers, i hope there is one thing upon which we can agree: Jesus loves the foreigner. yes, he loves all of humanity…but i dare say He has a tender spot for foreigners. as i survey the scripture it is my view that, whatever policy is landed upon, the default tenor would favor mercy over judgement as it regards the foreigner in general. here’s why it’s reasonable to think so.
Jesus has a special love for the foreigner because…
1. it’s in his heritage
yes, Jesus was the Son of God but, lest we forget, Jesus was also a jew. jews were once refugees to egypt to escape famine and lived as foreigners in egypt for a long time. they were perpetual foreigners because they became an underclass of slaves under the oppression of egypt (a nation with a different religion and gods) and were viewed by their rulers as dangerous enough to attempt a genocide of jewish baby boys. God heard their cries and delivered them into a new land. yet, even as they possessed a new land God reminds them:
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:34
as the son of God and as a son of a jew Jesus was bound to this word to never forget the suffering of being sojourners and to care for the foreigner.
2. it’s in his lineage
there are foreigners to the nation of israel in the very birth line of Jesus – foreign to the people of God, foreign to the country, foreign to the religion of the people of God (aka not christians). one foreigner was a woman named ruth from the land of moab. moab was not some neutral nation to the people of God. moab tried to hurt the people of God (a king of Moab hired out a prophet named balaam to curse the people of God, and moab in the book of judges oppressed the people of God). ruth didn’t come from a safe country. but this moabitess came to a new nation and came to know a new God and she accepted them as her own…and God weaved her and her story into the line of Jesus.
3. it’s in his experience
Jesus was foreigner in multiple ways. He left the comfort of the heaven to become an immigrant to earth. he also became a further foreigner when he was on this earth. to escape the slaughter of jewish baby boys (sound familiar?) from a jealous king herod, Jesus’ family had to escape their home country to become refugees to egypt before he returned years later.
4. it’s in his identity
just in case we weren’t sure what and who Jesus stood for, Jesus, in no uncertain terms identifies himself with the foreigner. in fact, he says that however we treat a foreigner is how we treat him and is a litmus test for saving faith. to not be hospitable to the foreigner has eternal implications.
5. it’s in our salvation
perhaps the most fateful twist of all for us though is the truth that if it was not for Jesus’ love for the foreigner we would be damned (unless you are a jew which, statistically speaking, you probably aren’t).
praise God that He considered it “too light a thing” to only bring back the jews to Him but that He would reach out to us…gentiles. without His light shining out to us we would not be able to “see.” He has a mission for reaching out to the foreigner…to the very ends of the earth…to us. we are infinitely fortunate that He loves like that.
there can be much we say or do (or don’t) regarding the foreigner but let us be completely clear…it matters how we treat the foreigner. Jesus takes it personally. and we should too.