The Refugee's Journey
Balangkas: During the life of Jesus the Messiah, He became a refugee, and endured homelessness, rejection, and betrayal. He suffered hunger, thirst, pain, and death. But He conquered death! Now He offers us an eternal home with Him in Heaven, and promises ultimate justice. Put your trust in Him and receive His security and peace.
|Bilang ng Talata:||481|
|Tema:||Fear; Incarnation; Resurrection of Jesus; Love of God; Problems, troubles, worries; Life of Christ; Heaven; Peace with God; Faith, trust, believe in Jesus; Judgement; Punishment for guilt|
|Tagapakinig:||Muslim; General; Refugees|
|Klase:||Bible Stories & Teac|
|Antas ng kaalaman:||General|
|Kawikaan mula sa Bibliya:||Extensive|
Ang talatang ito ay panimulang gabay para sa pagsasalin at pagrerekord sa ibang mga wika.Dapat ito´y naaangkop sa ibat ibang kultura at mga wika upang ito´y maging makabuluhan sa anumang lugar na pag gagamitan. May ilang mga salita at kaisipan na maaaring mangailangan ng mas malawak na paliwanag o maaaring ipagpaliban ang paggamit para sa ibang mga kultura.
[Either record “The Refugee” (dialog) script first, or use this Introduction]:
Hello friend. Are you, like me, living in a foreign country, or far away from home? Are you feeling lost and homeless? Have you left family and friends back in your homeland? Even though life was very hard there, over here (being here) you might feel lonely, helpless and as though there is no hope. Maybe you are surrounded with strange sounds and smells. Are you with people who speak languages you don’t understand? Do you feel your life is in danger every day? Are you near people who act in ways that are confusing or reprehensible (blasphemous, dangerous and frightening)? Are you feeling hungry and you don’t know where you will get money to buy food? Maybe you see only confusion and uncertainty all around you, and feel grief and hopelessness in your heart for all you have lost. I assure you, there is one who understands you perfectly. He is the true and living God.
Listen to the words of a man, (the prophet) David, who felt like this, and asked God for help:
“I cry out to the Lord. I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before Him and tell Him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, You alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to You, O Lord. I say, 'You are my place of refuge. Hear my cry, for I am in desperate need.'”
David was afraid. He was among people who spoke other languages and were not kind to him. They wanted to harm him. But David was also aware that there is one true God, the living God Who made the world and everyone in it, so He does not live in one country, or in a man-made building. David remembered that God knew his situation perfectly and cared for him. Even today, God gives everyone life and breath, and He wants to live with you, no matter where you are. He understands you and He cares for you.
Are you thinking, “But I have lost my land, my home, my job, and even my family! How does God care about me? He seems so far away. You may call Him merciful and compassionate, but He is so distant, how can He understand me?”
Let me remind you of this: true compassion comes from someone who is close to you. Isn't that true? If someone has not suffered what (like) I have suffered, he cannot truly understand what we are going through and have real compassion for me. A long time ago, God saw the suffering of all people. He was so sad for them that He decided that He was going to do something to help them. In helping them He has also helped us. God, Who can do anything, decided that He would become a man. He would experience all the pain and suffering that we experience. So that is what God did. He became a man. This man's name was Jesus. Jesus even became a refugee and lived without a home so He could be like us. I will tell you about Jesus. His story is written in the New Testament of the Bible (the Injil).
(PART ONE – The Refugee's Journey)
Moses and the Prophets told about the coming birth of Jesus. Jesus was born into this world to a poor family. A woman named Mary gave birth to Him. However, His birth was special because it was God’s Holy Spirit that caused Mary to become pregnant. She did not sleep with her husband, Joseph, until after Jesus was born. So Mary, His mother, was a virgin. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Soon after Jesus was born, King Herod sent his soldiers to the town of Bethlehem to find and kill Jesus. He did not know exactly where Jesus was, so he ordered his soldiers to kill all the boys who were two years old and under. An angel warned Joseph, so he took Mary and the baby and escaped to Egypt. That is how Mary and Joseph and little Jesus became refugees. They were safe in Egypt.
A few years later, God sent an angel to Egypt to speak to Joseph in a dream. He told Joseph that King Herod who had sought the child's life was dead, so he and his family could now return home. So Joseph took his wife and the child Jesus back to his home country. When he heard that the son of King Herod was king in the place of his father, Joseph went north to a town called Nazareth in the district of Galilee. A long time before that, the prophets had said about the Messiah, “He will be called a Nazarene.” So the word of the prophets came true. It was in Nazareth where Jesus grew up. He grew and became strong and full of wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.
When Jesus was about 30 years old, a man named John the Baptist was going around telling people to repent of their sins and follow God’s way. Jesus went to the Jordan River where John was baptizing people. Jesus went to John and was baptized. As soon as this happened the Holy Spirit of God came down in the form of a dove and rested on Jesus. Then God’s voice came from heaven saying, “This is My Son, whom I love, who brings Me great joy.”
Then God’s Holy Spirit led Jesus into a waste land (wilderness) where He was going to be tested by Satan. There was nothing there except for wild animals. After He had fasted for 40 days and nights He was very hungry. It was then that Satan came to tempt Him. Satan said, “If You are God’s Son, then tell these stones to change into bread.”
Jesus answered him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Satan continued to tempt Jesus but each time Jesus answered him with words from the Scriptures. After that Satan left Jesus alone and angels came and took care of Jesus.
We know that because Jesus the Messiah was very, very hungry, He knows how we feel when we are hungry. Also, since Jesus was put to the test Himself, He is able to help other people even when they are tempted by Satan.
He went back to Galilee in the power of God's Holy Spirit, and things went well for Him at first, but it wasn't long before He became a refugee once more. He started teaching people about God, healing the sick, and doing other miracles. News about Him went through all the country. One day He came to Nazareth, where He had been as a child, and on the holy day He went into the house of worship and stood up to read. They gave Him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened it and read this:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance (release) to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to free the oppressed (bruised, wounded), and to preach that the time of the favor of the Lord has come.” Then He shut the book. While everyone was still looking at Him He said, “This Scripture you have just heard has been fulfilled today.” But the people would not believe that, because they only thought of Him as the son of the carpenter, Joseph. Still, they had heard about miracles that He had done in another town.
Jesus surprised them by saying, “Certainly you will say to me this proverb, ‘Let the medical man make himself well!' The things we have heard You did over at Capernaum—also do them here in your own home town.”
And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, No prophet is honored (accepted) in his own country. In truth I tell you, there were a number of widows in Israel in the days of the prophet Elijah, when there was no rain for three years and six months and there was no food in the land. But Elijah was not sent to one of them, but only to Zarephath (Sarepta), (a town to the north in the land) of Sidon (Saida, Lebanon), to a woman who was a widow. And there were a number of lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and not one of them was made clean, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
We remember the story of Naaman, a Syrian general who had the terrible disease of leprosy. He had captured a young girl who became a slave to his wife. But even though that young girl was exiled from her home and her family, she forgave her captors. She felt sorry for Naaman with his leprosy, and told his wife about the prophet Elisha, who called on God to heal Naaman of his leprosy.
Jesus was reminding the people that God is good to people in many countries, and not just their own country. But when they heard Him talk about how kind God had been to people in Lebanon and Syria, they got mad (became angry). They got up and forced Jesus out of their place of worship. They took Him out of the town to a cliff (the edge of the mountain on which their city had been built), and tried to throw Him down to His death. But Jesus just walked through them and went on His way.
In this way, Jesus was rejected from His own home town. After this, He was homeless. He went from place to place teaching, healing the sick and casting out evil spirits from people. He taught people how to love God and trust Him and how to love other people.
In this way God came as (in) Jesus to this world. He identified with the pain and suffering of all men, women and children. Jesus shared the suffering of people who are not welcome and try to run away from danger. He knows what it is like to be hungry. He knows what it is like not to have personal possessions. He knows what it is like not to have a place to call “home.”
Jesus called twelve men to be with Him and follow Him. They were called His disciples. There was another man who came to Jesus and said, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” But Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests (resting places), but the Son of Man does not have anywhere to lay His head.”
Today, just like other times, people are rejected and others try to kill them. They may be hated and despised. Sometimes they are pushed out of their homelands. When that happens, we know that Jesus understands. All of that happened to Him, too. Jesus trusted God His Father to look after Him, protect Him and provide for Him. God is ready to help all displaced people. God is our refuge. He can give strength through the hardships.
Jesus experienced God’s protection and His provision when He was invited into people’s homes, and was given food. Sometimes when walking through the fields, His disciples were able to pick food that was growing. These were times of grace and help. Jesus lived a life of trust in God in the middle of much sorrow and adversity.
Jesus came to show people God’s love. However, many people did not welcome Him. They rejected Him. They did not understand Him, and despised Him. Religious people hated Him because He told the truth about them. He knew their hearts were not right with God. They were jealous of Him and felt that their power was threatened. They wanted to kill Him.
However, there were other people who truly were wanting to find God and know Him. These people listened to Jesus and welcomed Him. God gave them the grace to believe in Jesus and to trust Him. When they believed in Jesus, God made them like His very own children.
After three years, one of Jesus' disciples was tempted by Satan. He listened to Satan and he betrayed Jesus to His enemies. These enemies were jealous of Jesus and were looking for a way to kill Jesus. They arrested Jesus and took Him to court. He was flogged with a whip. During His trial witnesses (people) told lies about Him and He was not treated fairly even though he was innocent. (He had not done anything wrong). At the end of the sham trial, He was unjustly sentenced to death. It was the shameful death given to convicted criminals in those days. He was nailed to a wooden cross and hung there suffering great pain and thirst, until He died.
This was all part of God’s plan that Jesus would die like this. He was being punished for wrongs, or sins, He did not commit. It was God’s plan that the sins that Jesus was being punished for were the sins of all people. This includes your sin and my sin.
It was sinful people who rejected Him. It was sinful, evil people who crucified (put Him on the cross) Him, and the people who rejected Him watched and mocked. But Jesus knew He was fulfilling God's plan to save those who would believe in Him. They killed Him.
After Jesus died, His body was buried in a tomb with a huge rock placed in the entrance of the tomb. A tomb is a place of darkness and there is no life there. His body was in the tomb for 3 days. To the people, it looked like there was no hope for Him ever coming back. But after 3 days, Jesus was restored to life again by God! God is a great refuge and place of shelter, even in death if we trust in Him. With God there is great hope, and life. When Jesus was raised back to life, He was showing that He is stronger than death. He was showing that He is able to give life that lasts forever to all those people who believe in Him.
Jesus appeared to His followers. He ate food with His disciples. He talked with them. After 40 days Jesus was on a hill with His disciples when he was taken up to Heaven in a cloud as they were watching. Two angels appeared to the followers and told them that just as they had seen Jesus go up to Heaven, in the same way, He will return. Jesus is still alive today, and He will never die again. He is alive forever. We can talk to Him in prayer, even today. When He returns to earth the next time, it will be to judge the world. He will take all those people who believe in Him to live with Him in Heaven for ever. He will condemn all those people who have not believed in Him to eternal punishment in hell.
(PART TWO – The End of the Greatest Exile)
Why did God allow Jesus to be killed on the cross, and then raise Him from the dead? God wanted to make a way for people not to be sentenced to eternal punishment in hell. Punishment in hell is eternal separation from God. That is the greatest exile, the exile that shuts people away from the presence of God forever. But this terrible exile started a long time ago. You see, the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, sinned against God when they disobeyed God's instruction. They were told what would happen, but they still did what He had told them not to do. They were expelled (sent away) from their first home and from God's Kingdom. Ever since then, all of their descendants, all people including you and me, have been born outside the Kingdom of God and have lived outside the Kingdom of God.
The disobedience of Adam and Eve was the beginning of more and more sin. There has been great unrest in the heart of man outside of God's Kingdom. There have been wars and struggles, with hatred, greed, and corruption that we see in the world today. But in God's Kingdom there is peace, love, obedience, and joy. Sin causes grief and sadness, and in Jesus' life on earth, He experienced that grief and sadness. But He came to change the consequences of sin for those people who believe in Him. He made the way for people to have the assurance of a permanent home with Him in Heaven, and end the exile of people from God. Through Jesus, God offers His home to us. In His Heavenly Kingdom, there is no greed, no corruption, no fighting, no sadness, and no sickness. It is a place of peace, acceptance, respect, and happiness, being with God forever.
Jesus told the people, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in My Father’s home (In my Father's house there are many mansions). If this were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
One of His disciples said to Him, “No, we don’t know, Lord. We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”
God offers us hope and the assurance that we can be free from all our sorrow and pain, never to be homeless again or separated from Him. He has made the way for us to be with Him always in His home in Heaven. This hope and security are greater than our sorrows and our pain right now. Jesus' love and acceptance can take the place of the rejection we may be feeling now. When we experience loneliness and fear, change and insecurity, evil and shock, indifference and injustice from others, Jesus offers us true hope and consolation. Even in dislocation, when we are forced to leave our homes, Jesus says, “I have loved you even as My Father has loved Me. Remain ever in My love.”
Jesus welcomes refugees who have experienced the breakdown of cultural, religious, and national values to His peaceful Kingdom. He remains the same always, yesterday, today, and forever. He fills us with joy and peace in believing. He offers us hope, joy, and security, to calm our hearts from despair, war, fear, and insecurity. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give it in the same way as the world tries to give peace. Don't let your heart be troubled, and don't let it be afraid.” When we believe in Jesus, He gives us a peace that calms our hearts and takes away our fear. The peace that Jesus gives is very different from the kind of peace the world talks about. When they talk about peace, it really only refers to the stopping of fighting between people. The peace that Jesus gives helps us not to feel afraid of God and His judgment, but to be at peace with God because our sins are forgiven. When we tell Jesus we believe in Him, we also feel very sorry for the sins that we have done and we ask Jesus to forgive us for our sins. Then, He gives us His Spirit to come and live in us. We will have strength and can ask Him to give us wisdom to know what is right to do.
When Jesus comes back to the earth, He will judge all people. The justice of God will triumph over evil. He will condemn all evil acts and those who perform them will be guilty before Him. God will bring justice to the oppressed and punish the oppressor. The people who hurt you will have to face God's justice. Jesus will judge people for what they have done with Him. Jesus said that the sin of the world is not to believe in Him. Those people who do not believe in Jesus are already condemned. When we believe in Jesus we are no longer condemned, but have the assurance of eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. The Scripture tells us that God commands all people everywhere to repent, for He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” We know that someday, God's Kingdom will cover the earth, and Jesus' followers will live with Him forever.
My friend, can you see that God used what was evil to bring this good? Jesus was despised and rejected by His own people, had to flee from His home, and finally betrayed by His own friend, but God used all this to show that He is faithful. Jesus was put to death at the hands of injustice and cruelty, but God used this to demonstrate that He holds the power of life itself, and that with such power He will someday bring all evils to justice. Satan intended evil and death, but God intended to offer life through Jesus’ resurrection. This means we can have peace and confidence now, and hope for the future, even though at present we see great evil. God can change anything to good, if we will take refuge in Him. Through Jesus, we can know the way to a home that can never be taken away. What Jesus said is true: He is the way, the truth, and the life.
We see from many stories in the Bible (book of God) how God can change bad things that happen, to bring people to Himself. Through difficulties He can give life and healing and hope. In faith we can pray to Him and trust Him to help us through our troubles. Jesus was God’s answer for all time. Even today can be the day of salvation for you. Jesus conquered death so that nothing could separate us from God. All those who trust in Jesus' Name are welcome into His Kingdom and His home, an eternal home in the heavens. Believe in Jesus and He will give you peace in your heart and strength for the trials you are experiencing on earth. Will you believe in Jesus today, and receive a peace that passes all understanding? This peace is available to you no matter what kind of hardship you are facing just now. Pray to Him and ask Him to come into your life. Ask Him to forgive your sin, because He already paid for it. Ask Him to guard your heart and mind with His comforting peace. The world cannot give you this kind of peace. Only Jesus the Messiah can save you and keep you, now and for eternity.
Refs: (Introduction, Ps. 142) Matt. 2; Heb 2:18; John 15:9-13; Heb. 13:8; Rom. 15:13; John 14:27; Ps. 72:4; Acts 17:30, 31