Last week I spoke on Premier Christian Radio answering the question, “What would Jesus do about Calais?”
The difficulty with this type of question is that Jesus gave us very few precise rules to follow. Instead we must look at what kind of responses to Jesus we can find in the Bible. These responses and Jesus’ reaction to them can act as a guide as we navigate difficult situations such as the refugee camp in Calais.
Zacchaeus was a tax collector which, much like today’s culture, made him unpopular in first century Palestine. He wasn’t just a tax collector, he was a bent tax collector. He abused his position of power and cheated people out of their money.
Then one day Jesus came to town. Zacchaeus was a short man and couldn’t see through the crowd so he climbed a tree to get a view of this famous Rabbi. As Jesus passed he looked up and invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house. We can read in Luke 19 that, as a result of meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus said, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.”
It would have been fair for Zacchaeus to pay back what he had stolen, perhaps with interest, but he didn’t do that. Zacchaeus paid back four times what he stole. That is what an encounter with Jesus prompted in him.
If we profess to have had an encounter with Jesus what does that look like in practice?
It means doing what is fair and then some!
I think that Jesus would work out the fair amount of refugees the UK should take in as a responsible member of the EU. He would have that amount and then take in even more.
If you believe that you have had an encounter with Jesus I’d encourage you to do everything in your power to influence our politicians to do the same.