Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
There has been much debate recently on social media on whether or not Jesus was a Refugee.
Many on social media claim Jesus wasn’t a Refugee, some claim He was, and some even claim He wasn’t but clearly laid out that He did come to the world to save His chosen people from their sin, which is Biblically correct from a soteriological understanding.
So, with all of this debating going on, was Jesus really a Refugee? Yes, because it’s clearly stated in Matthew 2:13-15.
In Matthew 2:13-15, shortly after Jesus’ birth and the visit from the Magi, an “angel of the Lord” comes to Joseph in a dream and warns him to leave Bethlehem for Egypt because King Herod was doing all he can to murder Jesus. Joseph obeys the “angel of the Lord” and takes Jesus and Mary to Egypt as Refugees out of fear of persecution and death.
We see Joseph, Jesus, and Mary as Refugees brought to life in Matthew’s original language, which is Greek.
In Matthew 2:13, the angel commands Joseph as follows in Greek: Ἐγερθεὶς παράλαβε τὸ παιδίον καὶ τὴν μητέρα αὐτοῦ καὶ φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτoν–This is Transliterated to: Egertheis paralabe to paidion kai tēn mētera autou kai pheuge eis Aigypton….Or, “Arise, and take the child and his mother, and flee into Egypt….” (Matthew 2:13). The word to focus on is (pheuge) “flee,” from which derives the word “refugee,” the one who flees because of potential persecution. So in Matthew 2:13-15, the angel identifies Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as refugees.
In other words, Jesus was a refugee child as we see from the Greek word (pheuge) in Matthew 2:13-15. This is not some mythical assertion randomly made up–this is coming from the inerrant and infallible Word of God itself. This is authored strategically by God Himself through Matthew’s Gospel.
May we use this Biblical truth to love and do justice on behalf of refugees today because Jesus was one as a child.