Read John 1
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
This is not an autobiographical section. John is not speaking of himself but of the one whom we often call John the Baptist or John the Baptizer. We get a little more background on John the Baptist from the Synoptics, but here he sets the stage for the arrival of Jesus.
Here we find that while John the Baptizer was getting a lot of attention, John the Apostle notes that this man was a witness to the light and not the light himself. He knew who was coming, one whom he would later call the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
We also get a little time shift from the eternal perspective of Jesus to the temporal time of John. Jesus was on his way. We know that John was born shortly before Jesus. He was the forerunner who was to prepare the way for the Messiah.
Jesus always was. He created everything but when he entered that which he created—coming in the flesh—his creation didn’t know who he was. Humankind did not recognize him. This is a generalized statement for some did recognize him and believe in him and were born again, not like the first time to a human mother and father. This time they were born as children of God.
Imagine one day that your children did not recognize you. This is not impossible. Many mothers and fathers having surrendered their lives to drugs and alcohol become unrecognizable to friends and family. As we grow older and our mental capacity diminishes, we sometimes have difficulty recognizing those we love the most.
But we are talking about the Creator not being recognized by the creation, at least by humankind. How rebellious a people had we become at the time of our Lord’s first advent? What a bunch of bums!
We should not be so critical as today our society is at least as rebellious as the one from two thousand years ago. I would venture to say, that we are even more rebellious.
People—as I said a generalization—did not recognize their Lord; except, some did and some would in the days and years and centuries to come. These people would be what Jesus would call born again. We will get to that in the third chapter when our Lord and a Pharisee named Nicodemus have and interesting conversation that culminates in some very familiar scripture.
As we look at our Savior entering a world that didn’t know him, we find a promise for those who do know him and have received him and believed in his name. We will be born of God. We will be God’s children.
We are God’s children. John has a wonderful introduction that connects his gospel to the beginning of the story between God and humankind, but John does not bury the lead.
For those who believe in the name of Jesus, we have been given the right to be children of God. Now that’s the headline of some good news.