Jesus lived in occupied territory.
His mother, Mary, grew up in Nazareth, a small village that included a Roman bathhouse used by occupying forces.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, also occupied by Romans.
He was dedicated at the Temple in Jerusalem, again, under foreign control.
He grew up in Egypt, then part of the Roman Empire, later returning to Nazareth before beginning His itinerant teaching.
He later died at the hands of Roman leaders, leaving a new movement in the hands of His followers in a Jewish capital that was under foreign control.
All that to say Jesus lived His entire earthly life in locations controlled by outside governments.
What does this have to do with us?
On the political level, this could greater influence how we think about those in areas of conflict, whether military or civilian. The focus of those who follow Christ is on helping people, regardless of what side they are on. It’s not about Jew or Gentile, slave or free, Israeli or Palestinian, North Korean or South Korean, American or Mexican. It’s about the way of Jesus, a way that is far greater than what this world offers based on a kingdom not of this world.
On a personal level, Jesus provides a powerful example of a person who lived out His faith under difficult cultural circumstances. He did not live as a king in a palace but rather lived among the everyday people, bringing faith, hope, love.
May we do the same. Or, as Jesus was known for saying, “Go and do likewise.”
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