“He came to his own, but his own people did not receive him.”
John’s Gospel opens curiously. He begins the same way Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, begins and yet he quickly introduces a new wrinkle into things. In all of the prophecies about the coming Messiah, in all of the longing for a deliverer, none of the prophets could imagine that it would be God himself. So John begins: the Word, the true God who created all things, became a human being, like us. In the words of author and pastor Eugene Peterson, God “moved into the neighborhood.”
He quickly became a neighborhood nuisance. The equivalent of the homeowners association wanted him dead. He befriended the people whom everyone else had written off. He was more concerned with caring for the prostitute on the corner than making sure property values stayed high. City Hall made his death a public spectacle.
John writes that Jesus came to his own people but they, collectively, rejected him. Those who should have known didn’t pay attention. Those who should have listened didn’t hear. Those who should have seen were blind. But those who did believe, John writes, received more than they could have ever hoped for. Those who believed became children of God.
The Apostle John makes it clear that those, like him, who did believe and were born of God, saw Christ’s glory. They saw just a hint of the majesty of the one who created all things by his Word.