The lives of immigrants can be seen in the migrants of Scripture


To help our culture and the body of Christ understand immigration, it is helpful to talk about it within the broader scope of migration in Scripture.

The Bible deals extensively with migration and tells stories about real people who went through painful movements from one country to another, facing issues that are still relevant today.

The story of our faith begins with the migrant Abraham, who is commanded by God to leave his homeland and become a blessing to the nations. His great-grandson, Joseph, becomes a victim of human trafficking, then 400 years later and under the leadership of Moses, the people of Israel, in fleeing poverty and hunger, become a specific kind of collective migrant -- refugees.

Ruth marries a foreign man in her own land. Her husband dies, and Ruth travels to her husband's family land and seeks family unity, just like many migrants do today. Ruth would become part of Jesus' lineage.

The Lord Jesus himself becomes a migrant of sorts. Daniel Groody, a Catholic theologian and professor, says Jesus engages in a double migration. The first one is a cosmic migration, as he travels from heaven to earth, leaving the glory that was His at the right hand of the Father and becoming incarnate for the sake of humankind.

Jesus then engages in a second kind of migration. As a child, he has to flee to Egypt in order to escape an assassination attempt. Jesus is a migrant, and his love for us knows no boundaries. It crosses borders, both cosmic and human, to reach us and save us.

Later in the New Testament, Paul and the 12 apostles have to migrate in order to bring the Word of God to the world. The Christian faith is, essentially, a missionary faith. It requires believers to constantly migrate or else the faith cannot reach those in every corner of the world who need it.

If we are able to recognize our faith as a migrant faith and if we are able to see the plight of immigrants today as similar to the plight of those migrants in the Bible, we will surely identify with them.

If we identify with them, it will be easier to love them as our own. Once we declare that love, what follows is advocacy on their behalf in order to remedy the injustices they suffer.

In the end, the goal for us as the body of Christ in regard to the strangers among us is two-pronged: to see Jesus reflected in the eyes of the immigrants God has brought to us and to see immigrants with the eyes of Jesus.

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