Prologue to the Gospel of John Part 5: The True Light and Children of God
John 1:9-13; John 3:1-8
“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 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 NASB1995
The true Light comes into the world to enlighten every man, according to the Gospel writer John. The world was made through Him but the world does not know Him. How does enlightenment happen for every human when so many reject Him or ignore Him? The Light shines on our sin and corruption and fallen state, so it shines on everyone equally. Many will scatter and run away from that Light, just like cockroaches that have invaded a kitchen that run for the cupboards when you turn the light on (there’s a fun thought!). Others will stop in their tracks and consider the Light and then turn towards it.
Fallen humans that run from the Light love their sin (I was a runner from the Light for many years, justifying bad behaviors by saying “I’m only human” or “it’s is fun to be bad”). People who run from the Light know that they face eternal judgment and just can’t give up sin or they think they are sinless(!) or they honestly don’t care that there is more to hunger for than this temporary material existence. David Guzik from Enduring Word has some good commentary on why we don’t know Him; even those who should have known Him (the people of Israel) rejected Him:
The world did not know Him: This is strange. God came to the same world He created, to the creatures made in His image, and yet the world did not know Him. This shows how deeply fallen human nature rejects God, and that many reject (did not receive) God’s word and Light.
He came to His own: “We might translate the opening words, ‘he came home’. It is the exact expression used of the beloved disciple when, in response to Jesus’ word from the cross, he took Mary ‘unto his own home’ (John 19:27; cf. 16:32). When the Word came to this world He did not come as an alien. He came home.” (Henry Morris)
“This little world knew not Christ, for God had hid him under the carpenter’s son; his glory was inward, his kingdom came not by observation.” (John Trapp)
But John then tells us the Good News: Those who receive Him are given the right to be Children of God! We become like the dear child in the picture I selected (I’ve used a similar one before), who is engrossed in the Word in his worn Bible. We are not naturally born as Children of God, we must be born again to gain this birthright, as Jesus tells Nicodemus later in the Gospel of John:
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.””
John 3:1-8 NASB1995
Becoming a Child of God is not a result of any efforts that we can do (works, rituals, reading the Bible, trying to be a “good person”, going to church, penance, fasting), but is strictly from God when we wholly accept His salvation; this is from the Spirit. Charles Spurgeon says it well about this transformation (quoted in the same Enduring Word commentary referenced above):
“The man is like a watch which has a new mainspring, not a mere face and hands repaired, but new inward machinery, with freshly adjusted works, which act to a different time and tune; and whereas he went wrong before, now he goes right, because he is right within.”
We are fine-tuned and in sync with God when we accept His Grace! Fall out of love with your sin and step forward to the Light!
As is usually the case in doing research and daily Bible readings, after I had reached what I thought was the end of my devotional, I am pointed to something else that reiterates the message of our birthright in Jesus. Reading about how Jacob bought Esau’s birthright (and how the latter despised that birthright), I found more commentary by David Guzik on that Passage in Genesis 25 that points forward to Ephesians 1:3-14 and what we receive in our birthright with Jesus:
Spiritually speaking, many today despise their birthright. Ephesians 1:3-14 shows us a treasury of riches that are ours by birthright in Jesus:
· Every spiritual blessing.
· The blessing of being chosen in Jesus.
· Adoption into God’s family.
· Complete acceptance by God in Jesus.
· Redemption from our slavery to sin.
· True and total forgiveness.
· The riches of God’s grace.
· The revelation and knowledge of the mystery of God’s will.
· An eternal inheritance.
· The guarantee of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Far too many neglect or trade away this birthright for cheap entertainment, momentary popularity, or passing pleasures.
My next devotional examines the Prologue to the Gospel of John 1:14: And the Word became Flesh.
Heaven on Wheels Daily Prayer:
Dear Lord and Light - Thank you for shining your Light on my sinful ways and offering me Grace to be born again as a Child of God! May I always be filled with your Light and Word! May I treasure in my heart my birthright in Jesus and never trade it or neglect it! Amen
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org
Commentary from David Guzik on Enduring Word is used with written permission.