Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages John

John 1:11

Postby Nic J » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:26 pm

Hi. How are you ? It’s been awhile. So this morning I had to get up early and had some extra time and I spent it in the Word. I am in John—just started reading it. I've read it before wanted to go back and re-read it. Anyways, it is talking about being a child of God, and then if you go back up it says, “he came to his own and his own people did not receive him." Which now I am stuck on and started thinking about and re-thinking it. First, why don’t people receive him? Second, why would God come for people who are going to reject him? And why didn’t he make that differently where people would receive him? I get that he wants us to have free will, but doesn’t he want everyone in heaven with him? He loves everyone, and so why would he give them a chance to walk away from something that is good for them ... you wouldn’t let your kid make a bad choice, right? I don’t know if this makes sense and I don’t remember if we had talked about this before.
Nic J

Re: John 1:11

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:01 pm

You ask such good questions. I’m glad you keep asking.

“Child of God.” Yeah, the sheer startling piece of this text is “children of God.” After we see that this “Word” was with God, IS God, created the world, is life, is light, and conquers darkness, this spectacular being wants to be in relationship with us, and wants to adopt us into his family!! Wow. Who could imagine such good news? He wants to bring us into his house and make us His own. There is no more shocking news in the whole universe.

This thought leaps suddenly off the page with the power of a tsunami. All he has talked about so far is more esoteric and philosophical notions about Logos, light, and life. Then there was the religiously confusing (in their polytheistic culture) notion of the Light coming in to the world, but then out of nowhere he dares assert that we may become children of God. What? We have the privilege and the capability of becoming God’s children? It’s too radical to be grasped.

In their culture the gods had children, but we were just around to serve the gods, and to be the subject of their whims. We had no rights—certainly no authority—to be or do anything, let alone become an exalted child. What is being offered is a heretofore unthinkable status and destiny.

And all we have to do to attain to this position is to accept the relationship that has been created and offered to us: align with Jesus, endorse his teaching, and take on his nature. It’s incredible. One would think everybody but everybody would jump at this chance.

Now we back up and discover that not everyone is on board. Some didn’t recognize him, and others pure out rejected him. What??? How can it be?

“Why don’t people receive him?” John is already giving hints. They are filled with darkness, a theme he will speak more about in John 3.19: They prefer the darkness because their deeds are evil. The light “hurts their eyes,” so to speak, meaning that it threatens their wordview, their power base, and their pride. The light (Jesus) is viewed not just as competition, but as a violation of their being.

John will develop this thought through the book. Jesus threatens their religious answers, their theology, their stature in the community, their security in economic and political systems, and their confidence in their own knowledge and learning. He is such a threat to their status quo that they would rather kill than change.

The ultimate rejection—to be tossed aside by one’s own people, one’s own family. As Jesus will teach later, we who are followers of him may also be rejected by our families. But in this case it’s not just his family, because we don’t get to choose our families. It’s his chosen people (the Jews)—his adopted children. He chose them, chose to take them in, chose to love them, and he blessed them over and over, and did everything he could for them. So when they turn again him, it’s a double hurt. They’re family, and that’s bad enough, but they’re chosen so it’s even worse.

“Why would God come for people who are going to reject him?” Because he never stops trying. He wants relationship so badly he comes even to those who are rejecting and hateful. He comes even to those who are sinners (Rom. 5.8). He comes into the darkest places to shine His light, never intimidated and never afraid, to win those who will come to him. He has that kind of love, that kind of desire for us, and that kind of will to bring us into His family. Love is always a risk. Parents take the same risk; so do spouses.

“Why didn’t he make that differently where people would receive him?” Yep, free will is the answer. It’s not just that he wants us to have free will, it’s necessary. There’s no such thing as love without it. There’s no such thing as reason (or thinking) without it. If you don’t choose to love, it’s not love. If I can’t weigh information, think about different hypotheses, consider data, and choose how to work through a problem, the data, and solutions, then thinking can’t exist. Free will is necessary for being human. So even though God wants everyone in heaven with him, if God and heaven are the only way we can choose, that’s not really a choice, and it’s not love—it’s as simple as that.

“Why would he give them a chance to walk away from something that is good for them?” Suppose you had a boyfriend, and you knew that the two of you were great together, and there were things about you that were exactly what he needs in a woman, and these were things that would help him. So, let’s assume he gets tired of the relationship, or he’s just stupid, and he breaks off the relationship. Can you (or should you) force him to stay with you and force him to love you? That’s ridiculous. That would be awful, and it wouldn’t be love, for sure.

“You wouldn’t let your kid make a bad choice, right?” As parents, you have to do this on occasion. We can’t force everything. We can’t make them into little robots. Sometimes they learn best because we let them make a bad decision. Sometimes they refuse to listen to us, and actually insist on making bad decisions. Sometimes we tried hard to stop them from making bad decisions, but they plowed right ahead and did it anyway. Love has to act on a different level. We can’t protect them from every pain, from every stupidity in themselves or others, or from every mistake they might make. And I don’t think it would be wise to protect them from all that stuff. They have to learn to find their own way, make their own decisions, and learn from life. Parenting is real tough a lot of times. It’s really no different from God, because there are lessons to be learned from hard times, He can’t just interfere in everything in our lives, and He can’t force us to love Him.

He came to his own “family” the Jews) with wide open arms, a universe full of love, and an invitation to die for. And they spurned him, made fun of him, and said they wanted nothing to do with him. The only way to issue the invitation to love was to come, knowing that some would reject. But to those who will receive him, whoever they are, they get to be part of His family, get to be made into new creations, given new hearts, transformed minds, and a new and meaningful purpose in life. Who would reject that? Many do, sadly and senselessly. Anyone who really gets it would give ANYTHING to have what He offers (Mt. 13.44-46).
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Re: John 1:11

Postby Nic J » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:06 pm

He wants us in his family and wants a relationship with us because he loves us that much?

So, in John's time people had more then one God? Was part of the pagan culture? Did pagan culture even exist then?
Nic J

Re: John 1:11

Postby jimwalton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 2:20 pm

"He wants us in his family and wants a relationship with us because he loves us that much?” Absolutely. That’s the whole message of the Bible. “God so loved the world that he gave His only Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but instead will have eternal life. For God didn’t send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”

“God showed his supreme love for us in this: while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”

“This is the message: God is love. … Wouldn’t he who gave his son in love for us also freely give us all things?”

"So in John's time people had more then one God? Was that part of the pagan culture? Did pagan culture even exist then?” Pagan culture was in full swing in the Roman Empire. In the book of Revelation Rome becomes the symbol of all things godless, just as Babylon had been in the ancient days. There were all kinds of fake gods, multiple gods (polytheism), sex gods—you name it. There was witchcraft, sorcery, astrology, human trafficking, chattel slavery—it was just downright awful. Jesus came to rescue the world from sin. Without that, civilization would have collapsed centuries ago.

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