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Born a Refugee (7 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part 2
Christopher B. Harbin
We generally think of immigrants and refugees as people not like ourselves. To some degree that is correct, as we do not live the same conditions that make them refugees or immigrants. On the other hand, there is not as much to cast them as ''other'' as we are wont to imagine. Perhaps the real issue is that we find it easier not to relate to those who live different lives, such that our own lives do not become inconvenienced by struggles we don't quite understand. Because we deem them different, we can write them off without much more thought.
What is clear in the gospels, however, is that Jesus continually placed himself in the position of identifying with the refugee, outcast, immigrants, stranger, and marginalized to ensure a clear message of God's care and concern for those we would write off. More than once in the birth narratives, we find Jesus identified with outsiders. In Matthew's text, we find Jesus becoming a refugee.
Matthew tells a different birth story for Jesus than does Luke. Well, actually, Matthew does not really tell us anything about Jesus' actual birth. He gives us a prelude to what happened prior to the birth. Then he skips to a story that takes places some time afterward. This story was probably closer to two years later. Unlike the manger scene of Jesus' birth in Luke 2, we find Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in a house. Life had moved on from the days of Jesus' birth, and they had settled into new routines.
It is in the midst of these new routines of life that Jesus quickly moves from living under the whims of an oppressive Roman political system to living the life of a refugee fleeing Herod. Magi had come from the East, probably Babylon, where Abraham had originated. These astrologists studied the stars as more than balls of exploding gases. They understood them to be divine beings, what we would call angels or gods. Like Egyptian theology, ...
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