“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” – Matthew 25:35
How Christians treat people should be indicative of the love they have for Christ. If we say we love Christ as he has loved us, then that love should overflow unto every person we come in contact with. This verse, along with the rest of Jesus’ teachings on how to treat others, should extend to those who are strangers to our country as well. Immigrants are strangers to our land and we should treat them just as we would treat our neighbor down the street. There is no excuse or reason to love them any less.
Jesus also taught us to love one another:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
Additionally, Jesus said the second greatest commandment was “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39).
In today’s verse, Jesus Christ himself is referring to being a stranger in a strange land. The verse refers to Jesus parable of “The Sheep and the Goats” also called “The Final Judgment.”
Distinguished English Christian theologian scholar and late Lord Bishop of Gloucester Bristol Charles John Ellicott says, “The passage furnishes six out of the list of the seven corporal works of mercy in Christian ethics, the seventh being found in the care and nurture of the fatherless.”
Jesus is bringing attention to the fact he views these six works as representative of those possessing an understanding of true Christian faith. These works are proof that the doer is a godly person. It is by such works that we show we belong to Christ.
This parable is also a description of the final judgment and that such acts will clearly distinguish between those who belong to Christ and those who do not.
Before we look at a few more Bible verses, let’s first define the above two terms which we will find throughout the example verses.
Wikipedia defines a sojourner as “a person who resides temporarily in a place.”
The dictionary defines a sojourn as “a temporary stay; to stay for a time and a place; live temporarily.”
Here are some more verses about love for others in the treatment of strangers and immigrants.
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34
“Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 10:19
“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 22:21
The Bible has several verses directed at giving people equal treatment under the law.
Part of the reason for the establishment of these laws was to prevent the stoning of accused blasphemers who might have different religious beliefs, such as when someone might be the offspring of an Egyptian father and an Israelite mother.
This was to protect those caught in the middle from suffering harm.
“The same law shall apply to both the native and the foreigner who resides among you.” – Exodus 12:49
“You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the LORD your God.” – Leviticus 24:22