John 1: 9-13
In the beginning, the Word, the Logos, already existed. The Word, the Logos, was with God, and was God. And through Him, God made all things. Not one thing in all creation was made without Him. The Logos was the source of all Light for all people. It shines in the darkness, which has never put it out. God sent a messenger, John the Baptist, who came to witness to the Light, so that all should hear the message and believe. John came to testify about the Light, the real Light, who shines on all people.
The Word, the Logos, came to His own country, but His own people did not recognize Him. Some did believe, and were given the right to be called God's children. They did not become God's children by natural means, but God was their Father.
This is what we are called to do by faith: to receive and to believe. To receive that which was revealed to us, and to believe it with all our heart, mind, and soul; and then to live it in the world. Verse 9 tells us that this was the real Light, the Light that comes into the world, and shines on all people. When God promises that the Light would come into the world throughout the entirety of the Old Testament, the Light refers to God or Christ. God kept His promise to bring the Light of the world throughout the entirety of the New Testament. So what can you infer about Light when reading the New Testament? Who does it refer to all the time? God Himself or Christ.
The Light has two connotations in the text this morning. The first one is this. It brings with it the word "judgment," and associated with it is the word "darkness." People living in darkness are still living under the judgment of God. Second, it brings also this idea - "light." Light is the opposite of darkness, and the opposite of judgment is "salvation." So wherever the Light comes it brings salvation in its train. Jesus Christ is the promised Light of the Old Testament, and the answer to the promise in the New Testament; and He is the One that reigns forever. He is the One alone who reveals the Father to us. No one has seen God, but Christ has revealed Him to us.
There is the concept of the absence of God in a person's life. What is it synonymous with? It is synonymous with darkness and judgment, but there are some other words: condemnation, alienation, and separation. I think the most terrifying description of hell is this: being separated from everyone you have ever known, being separated for eternity from anything but yourself and what you have done. Doesn't that sound alot worse than flames? Is there anything worse in life than being separated from those that you love? We live for fellowship. We live for relationship, because that's the way we were made. If we are separated from God, we have all these feelings. Think about that the next time you are speaking to someone who doesn't know Him. Think about the pain, the anguish, the hopelessness of having a relationship that matters the most shattered, separated.
The presence of God in a person's life is synonymous with light, salvation, communion, family, and relationship. The word that summarizes the whole of the Bible is community. That word comes out of a word that is higher than that. Communion. God wanted to be in "communion" with us. Therefore, we formulate community around us, and we strive to make it the best that it can be, and the friendliest that it can be, because we long for that communion.
In verse 10 we read that the Word (Logos) was in the world (the cosmos), but the world didn't recognize Him. I want to point out to you that the word "world" has three meanings, each connected to each other. In verse 10a it denotes the universe, the cosmos, including the earth. God created the entire universe with the earth in it. Next, the word "world" denotes the earth, the planet itself. Then, it focuses in like a satellite focusing down on a street. It focuses in on humanity. Third, it focuses in just on you and me. The Word, the Logos, was in the world, and He made the earth, the planet, with the people o n it. They did not recognize Him.
If you read chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis, here is what you are going to see. In the first chapter, you will read how God created all the things on certain days; but in the second chapter, it will be the universe, the earth, and then down to man. There is a focus just like in John's prologue, with the focus being you as an individual that He loves.
God was in the universe, reconciling the whole of it to Himself. He is not just reconciling one individual. He is reconciling all of it, even the death of animals and the universe. Christ is redeeming everything that we put into corruption and decay by our actions.
In verse 11 we read these words;
"He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him."
Israel is a people particularly called God's own people. We find this in Exodus 19:5 and in Romans 15:8, and John 4:22. Israel had to reject Him. Here's what Jesus did. He took the original tree of the Jewish people, and the other tree of the Gentile people, and grafted them into one tree, like there was in the Garden of Eden- the tree of life in the center of the garden. He is making a new tree, where there is only one tribe, one shepherd, one sheep, one people.
So you have this idea of being rejected for a time, in order to be accepted back in. Jesus died outside the walls of Jerusalem, on a hill called Golgath. Think about that. Jesus said in Matthew 21:42-44:
"Have you never read in the Scriptures. 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone. The Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes.' Therefore, I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."
This idea of rejection and giving to another--in verse 12 of John, some did believe Him, so they were given the right to become God's children. Adoption into God's family is what has happened to us. Adoption into God's family is not from us. It is not by a birthright, nor any personal desire. It is totally a work of God. It is God's decision, His promise, His work of salvation through His only Son; it is God's continued call on your life; it is God's sustaining love and mercy when you wake up each day. Adoption into God's family means God is always present with you, and He is always blessing you, and redeeming you, and giving you strength.
But it goes further than that. Adoption into God's family is a gift of God. It is given freely. It is only possible because of God's perfect, unconditional and unfailing love for us that will never end. It is by faith alone. There is no other way to receive adoption. There are the two words for you, found in verse 12. You must receive and you must believe. These are the requirements of a child of God to be adopted.
In verse 13, we do not become a child of God by being born of a human body. God Himself is our Father. The key understanding is birth by God's Will, born from above. Not birth by my will, meaning born from below. This is a key difference. God offers this adoption freely and lovingly from above. This is what it means to be "born again." Born again by God alone, born by His Will, and not mine, His understanding, and not mine. God willed it one way, 2000 years ago, by a man born under the law, born of a woman, who walked among us and became God in the flesh; who lived a perfect life, who sacrificed perfectly on a cross, who rose again three days later, ascending 40 days later, and will descend shortly.