As Many as Received Him

November 26, 2018

John 1:6-13

Within every one of us is an innate desire for spiritual reality. We all want life and peace. Yet apart from Jesus, we are in darkness—our sin blinds us. How does a person come to know God?

Before Jesus came, God bore universal witness of Himself. He could be seen above: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). He could be seen around mankind in the amazing creation. And He could be seen inside people—in their sense of His existence and their awareness of right and wrong, instilled within them not by parents or culture but by God Himself.

The True Light

But at a certain point in history, God sent “the true Light which gives light to every man” (John 1:9), the Lord Jesus Christ, to reveal Himself more fully to man. Into our darkness Jesus brought light—light that enabled us to hear the gospel, respond to the gospel, and believe in the gospel. Good news!

But not everyone was thrilled with Jesus’ revelation. Incredibly, although “the world was made through Him, … the world did not know Him” (John 1:10). What an indictment! Nature knew Him: the wind, the fish in the sea, even the stones. But the pinnacle of creation—the only creature made in the image of God—refused to acknowledge his Creator. Unbelievable!

Missing the Messiah

Perhaps we could excuse the Gentile world for failing to know Jesus, since for millennia they were left without any specific revelation. But we can never understand how the Jews missed Him. The Jews knew that the Messiah would be a Son of David (see Jeremiah 23:5), that He would be born in Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2), and that He would come 173,880 days after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem (see Daniel 9:25). Daniel had also made it clear that the Messiah would be “cut off”—put to death—before the temple was destroyed (see Daniel 9:26), which happened in AD 70. Jesus fulfilled each of these prophecies.

Jesus did other things that the prophets said would mark the messianic age: He healed the deaf and the mute. He gave sight to the blind. He caused the lame to leap for joy. But amazingly, when Jesus healed a man born blind, it provoked intense opposition from the religious leaders (see John 9). Jesus “came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).

Recognizing Jesus

But here’s the hinge: “But as many as received Him …” (John 1:12). Israel’s rejection of Jesus did not thwart the Messiah’s work. The Jews did not recognize Jesus, but God’s plan was undeterred. He spoke prophetically of Jesus through the prophet Isaiah, “You will restore Jacob and bring back Israel, and I will also make You a light to the Gentiles” (see Isaiah 49:1–6).

As many as received Him” includes the Gentile nations. Because the Jews rejected their Messiah, God extended salvation to the ends of the earth—which includes you and me. To as many as would receive Him, “He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Not all people are God’s children. God is the Creator of all men, but He is the Father only of those who receive Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only One who can give a person the right to become a child of God. We are born in sin, under the judgment of God, and we must be born out of that state (see Ephesians 2). We must be born again. This birth is not passed down through the bloodline, nor is it the result of a fleshly determination or the will of man. It is God who gives new life.

Born Again

We are born again by receiving Christ—the only human component of salvation. We must exercise our will and say, “Jesus, I want You to be my Lord.” When we do that, we become children of God—all because the true Light that gives light to every man came into the world.

Has Jesus opened your eyes to the light? Have you received Him as Lord? If you haven’t, will you ask Jesus to open your heart to receive Him and cause you to be born again? If you have, thank God for His precious gift of new life and surrender afresh to Him today.