“But to all who did receive him …”
Today we start reading John; this is a gospel which challenges us to think very carefully and make sure we harmonise our thoughts about various passages of scripture. The Gospel starts, “In the beginning was the Word” What beginning?
The very first words in the Bible are “In the beginning God created …” The original Greek in this place for “word” is ‘Logos’ – a word translated several ways, a particular sense is ‘a word that has been spoken’ – see for example John 18 where it occurs in both verse 9 and 32 – “this was to fulfil the word that he had spoken”.
We recall that at the beginning of the world God spoke at the start of each day and certain acts of creation took place. We have God’s word through Isaiah, “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose” (55:11).
This happened at creation. Now note Peter’s words in his first Epistle – that Christ “was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1:20,21).
We read today, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (verse 14). God’s word of foreknowledge had “become flesh” – it was all God’s doing. What was in the beginning was God’s word, his plan, and it brought life and light to the world and ultimately it was made flesh in the person of his Son who came to speak God’s message as we will see most clearly as we read John’s Gospel.
John the Baptist testifies of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (verse 29). The world has recently celebrated Easter but for most it was a meaningless celebration, but those who know his voice will say, as Nathaniel said to him, “… you are the Son of God! You are the king of Israel” (verse 49). And one day he will return to be King, not just of Israel, but of the whole world.
We must take into our hearts the point made in verse 12, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”. Let us receive him and the way we start (or have started) is to confess our faith and be baptised.