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.” (John 1:9–13, ESV)

Have you ever not been known?  A few years back after heart surgery and started a new health regimen.  I had lost about 70 pounds.  I went to a Conference and I saw a couple of friends who had moved away from our town a few months before my big life change.  I walked up, joined a circle of conversation and stood right next to these two people.  Not wanting to interrupt a conversation, I stood and listened.  I had been their pastor.  I had been to their home.  I had prayed with them for their family.  I stood there for a few minutes.  Finally, I piped up and added my comment to the conversation.  The woman looked at me with the weirdest look.  She was obviously hearing a voice she knew come out someone she didn’t.  Finally she said, “Jim!?  Is that you?”  We all laughed a bit.  But it was a little disconcerting.  Over the next few days I saw a lot of friends who didn’t know me.  I found myself saying “Hey ______, Jim Renke!  Good to see you.”

That happened with friends.  I can’t imagine it happening with my kids. That would break my heart.  I can’t imagine not being known by the ones I helped create!  That was Jesus’ experience, but multiplied.  “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.”  Can you think of a more crushing statement?  That sums up the world’s experience with Christ.  He shows up and the world he created misses it because we are alienated from God.  We don’t have eyes to see Him.  We only see ourselves.

John goes on to explain something even more alienating.  “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.”  He came to his people, the nation of Israel as the promised Messiah King.  He was a Jew and came as the Jewish Messiah.  He came to bring a kingdom of grace.  But, for the most part, they didn’t accept him.  They just didn’t recognize the light.  They rejected him.  They refused his right to rule and reign over them and the world.

But John does tell us that this Light, who gives light to everyone, is received by some.  Even today, some do see who he is.  And to those who receive him, he reestablishes the relationship that was there at creation.  He restores us to a place of oneness.  He gives us a place in his family.  He births us to a new life that flows from the will of God.

I’m encouraged by this passage to always be open to receiving the light, who is Christ.  Because, while the light is for everyone, not everyone experiences the life it brings.  We must receive him.  How do I receive him?  I start every day with an openness to the life he gives.  It is a life in another kingdom.  It is a life with him as Lord.  It is a life that is found solely in the will of my Creator God.  Are you open to that life?  Then stop and see Him and receive the Light as your light.  And there we will find life!

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The next in this series is here.