"as your native-born"

Leviticus 19: 13-14 “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”

As we learned on Sunday, it was common in the Ancient Near East for visitors to a town to sleep in the square. From there, local folks might come and invite these guests into their homes, but even if travelers weren’t invited into a home it was generally expected that they would be safe sleeping in the square for the night. In Genesis 19, one of the great failures of Sodom was their violent behavior toward such visitors.

In Leviticus, several hundred years after Genesis 19, God makes clear to the Israelites that he expects them to treat foreigners with dignity and hospitality - "as your native-born." Such hospitality is to be one of the markers of God's people. (It's particularly interesting that the reason God gives for this command is Israel's own time as foreigners in Egypt.)

Today, God's people do not form a nation state like Israel, so it might be worth considering what "foreigner" means for us. Who do you think Jesus intends that we should treat with this sort of respect and hospitality?