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December 8

Scripture Reading

John 1:9-14

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Reflection

In this passage, the apostle John writes some profound characteristics about Jesus.

Jesus was the true light that would give light to people who were walking in darkness.

Jesus was the Creator of the world into which He came.

Jesus was the only Son who had the appropriate glory of his Sonship.

Jesus was full of grace.

Jesus spoke the truth.

And yet,

the Jewish people did not receive him. The majority of the story in the gospels is about how “his own people” rejected Jesus which eventually led to their clamouring for His death.


In contrast to those who rejected Him are those who received Him - his apostles and other disciples. The number of people who received him was minuscule compared to those who rejected him. Even at the birth of Jesus, only a handful of people received him - small pockets of people in variegated settings.


Receiving Jesus is more than just a mental assent to his existence. When John wrote his gospel, it was after the other gospel writers (Mark, Matthew, and Luke) had written their accounts. John intentionally avoids using the nouns for knowledge and belief. Instead, he uses the verbs of knowing and believing since for him the focus is not on what one knows or believes, but whom one knows and believes.


But to those who took the risk, chose to be in the minority, and received him, those who received the Lord as Lord, a profound privilege was given. God bestows a right (literally, a power) that cannot be obtained any other way.


It is easy to point to the Jews and wonder how they could have rejected their messiah—especially a Messiah such as this.

But, if Jesus came today to our culture and spoke a message that was counter to current thinking, would He be accepted? If the truth that Jesus spoke was different than our own established thinking, would we tolerate Him? If He showed love to those we disdain, would we embrace Him? If He showed grace to those we have judged, would we welcome Him?


This Christmas, like at the first Christmas, God is looking for pockets of people who will, against their presuppositions, despite their traditions and contrary to their natural inclinations receive him and believe that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. If God is the greatest being, then becoming a child of God is the greatest privilege.


(for lyrics, please use closed captioning)


For a sermon on Doubt and Belief: See Scarred for Life


Notes

Song: O Come All Ye Faithful, Passion ft. Melodie Malone

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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