The Jews took up stones again to stone Jesus. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.” Jesus answered, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods’? If those to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ —and the scripture cannot be annulled— can you say that the one whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried to arrest him again, but he escaped from their hands.
He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there. Many came to him, and they were saying, “John performed no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” And many believed in him there.
Yesterday morning my mom sent her husband to the Czech Republic for what will be his first visit home in 20 years. He is 53 years old and the last time he was able to go home to see his mother, he was in his thirties. He will meet his twin sister’s children for the first time on this trip. He has been calling friends and making plans for what they will do for the next precious 14 days, time that will surely slip away too fast, time that will create new memories for him to hold until his next trip home. His mom has been asking him for weeks for a list of his favorite foods, the foods he has not been able to eat for years, so she can welcome him home with the tastes that are sure to wrap him in memories of childhood.
All the while, my mom cannot sleep, cannot eat, and her stomach is in knots with the fear that he will not be able to re-enter the United States when he flies back after those 14 days. Although they have been together for several years, her husband has only recently been granted a Green Card allowing him the trip home that he has been unable to take for two decades. Even still, she wonders whether they have done all their paperwork properly, whether he has all his documents, and whether his English is good enough and the laws consistent enough that she can count on her husband returning home.
This is the reality that many immigrants face in the United States today–one of complex laws that change irregularly in a system that has no regard for whether a wife, mother, son, husband, father, or daughter waits for you at home. We who have the stability of living in the country we were born in do not understand the life of Jesus in many ways. But we can listen and learn from those who have an experience of migration. In this passage from John we see the movement of a Migrant God–one “sent into this world.” Jesus the Immigrant transgressed borders: those established by religion, society, culture, nations, and even humanity itself.