Was Jesus a migrant, a refugee?

I don’t fully agree with the Pope Frances when he says that Jesus was a migrant. The Church of Sweden (and others too) even says he was a refugee. True or not true?

His mother, the Holy Virgin Mary, and her husband Joseph of the House of David, fled to Egypt when the angel warned them, that king Herod intended to kill all newly born babies in the country. That was king Herod’s intention, as he feared what the three wise men had told him, namely that among the newly born babies in the country there was one future king of the Jews, the Messiah. King Herod felt threatened by this baby.


Giotto di Bondone (1304-1306), The Flight into Egypt, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy.

So Joseph and his wife Mary with her baby Jesus fled on a donkey all the way to Egypt. After about two years king Herod died and the Holy Family could return to Judea, their homeland. During the time in Egypt, Jesus was no doubt a refugee, but the rest of his life he was living among his own, the Jewish people, in their own country, Judea, today’s Israel.

At the time Israel was occupied by the Roman Empire, but that didn’t seem to have bothered Jesus too much. He loved to stay in the Temple, which he claimed was the house of his Father. He preached about the Kingdom of God in the synagogues and elsewhere. He performed miracles. He was accused for being the King of the Jews, i.e. the Messiah, and was sentenced to death by the Roman Governor. He was crucified outside Jerusalem. On the third day he rose from death and met his disciples during fourty days. Then they witnessed his ascension from Mount Olives by Jerusalem and he disappeared into the skyes.

Apart from the two years in Egypt Jesus lived among his own people in their own country, Judea, Samaria and Galilee and then he was neither a migrant, nor a refugee. Can one then really claim that he was a migrant and a refugee? Yes, if one adds that he was so only during a certain period of his earliest life on earth. But his main mission was (and is) as the Messiah, Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world.

First of all, he addressed his own people, God’s own people, the Jews, and secondly as told in the Gospel of St. John, he also had to draw the non-Jews to his kingdom, which he no doubt has done these days, so that one day all should become one flock of “sheep” under one “herd”. That is something to look forward to, wouldn’t you agree? So as a Christian, pray for the Jewish people and for their land Israel.