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.
Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his
glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full
of grace and truth.
Remember I said that in this passage there was some joy, and also some sadness?
We're here at the sad part now.
"And the world did not (recognize) know Him."
I don't know about you, but I have tears in my eyes when I contemplate that short sentence.
The first sad thing is that the world did not know Him. Christ revealed Himself to the world, and there was no flash of awareness, no sudden recognition of the Creator, no realization of the truth of His majesty. The world rejected the Creator -- John does not even make an effort to explain the tragedy. Perhaps he realized that there is no possible explanation; it just doesn't make sense.
Perhaps it is because the world wanted its own way -- not His way. They just were not interested. He was not the type of King that they wanted to follow or serve.
"He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him."
If a sentence could be more tragic than the first one, this is it. The Creator came to His very own possession, to His own home, and he received no welcome, no acceptance. He was not a stranger. Had he come to another people who had no prophecies, no revelations or knowledge, it would have been bad enough to be rejected. But He came to His own people, the people of Israel. They had hundreds of years of prophecies to guide them. He was anticipated, expected. He was longed for, and hoped for. The way had been well-prepared for Him.
But when He came home, his family rejected Him.
Notice here that John does not lump the people of Israel in with "the world." He doesn't say that His own people did not know Him -- but that they did not receive Him. That verb carries with it the meaning of "taking a person to oneself in fellowship." You see, they knew Him, but they would not allow Him His rightful place in their lives. Jesus came to the place and to the people He had created and nurtured . . . they lived their lives enjoying His creation, and the blessings He gave, and were even prepared to receive Him, but what did they do?
They rejected Him.
Have you ever read the poem, "The Death of the Hired Man"? These lines are contained there:
"Home is the
place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."
I've always tried to etch into my children the knowledge that they would be warmly received whenever they came home. No matter the circumstances, no matter the conflict. There would be love and acceptance here.
This verse is in sharp contrast, for Jesus came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. He was rejected, turned away. He gave up heaven's glory to dwell with them and to lead them back to God, to be their Savior and King. He gave them every reason to love Him, but they rejected Him and then crucified Him.
I have been rejected in my life, and I have no easy answers for others who have been hurt in this way. There are no quick fixes or magic cures. All I can say is that we can look to Jesus, and remember that He experienced rejection. He was scorned by His hometown, by His relatives, and by His countrymen. He heard the jeers of the crowd that He was giving His life for, as they demanded His crucifixion. He looked down from the cross and saw that same mob as they mocked Him, and He felt so abandoned by His Father that He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
When you feel the deep hurt of rejection,
remember that Jesus understands how you feel. He loves you far more than any mortal can. If you
have believed on Him, He has accepted you - and He will never reject
those who trust in Him (John 6:37). And I can give personal testimony to the fact that He will work in our lives, and the ones who reject us can come back to us. Jesus gave His life for us so that
we could have His life in us and He will never leave us or forsake us.
We can have life, and that more abundantly! Praise Him!