March 31, 2017 – Friday
Read: John 1:9 – 13, NIV
Focus: v. 13, NIV
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
All, or at least most, of our devotionals for this season of Lent have had the underlying theme of “What is accomplished through the Cross?” Today’s selection is from very early in John’s Gospel and does not directly mention the cross. However, it does indirectly refer to it. The eleventh verse does so in the words, “but his own did not receive him.” Those words also encompass all the events that took place in Jesus’ life and ministry and especially during the past week of His life. Moving on, I recognize that our focus verse is just one of the highlights of this paragraph and that this paragraph lies in the midst of a whole bunch of highlights about who and what Jesus is. In the first 18 verses of his Gospel, John introduces who Jesus really is. This is referred to as The Prologue of John’s Gospel.
Verses 9 through 13 are a paragraph that contains a complete thought as to why Jesus came, or rather, was sent by God. “The true light,” or Source of knowledge and understanding came into the world to share that knowledge and understanding with the world. He came to really “be light” – to illuminate the spiritual darkness around us. The problem is that most of the world, even among those who should have responded, the Jews, did not accept Him. But some did, and they received something very special. It is something anyone who accepts The True Light, Jesus, can also share in. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—“. I think you can agree that this was something special. What does it mean to become children of God? In the first place it is a wonderful spiritual transformation that makes you a part of God’s eternal family. Then it also includes the growing that takes place for a child. All children are expected to grow, physically, emotionally, in knowledge and wisdom, relationally and many other ways. A spiritual child is no different except that the growth is in spiritual areas and takes precedence over the physical, earthly existence. He gives us the right to become, both initially through the new birth and throughout our existence as a born again child of God. I love that word “become” As it indicates to me that even though I began as a believer at a certain point in my life I continue to become all that God wants me to be throughout my life. In that sense, we are all “becomers” if you will. Another way of putting it is as someone else said, “God isn’t finished with me yet!”
“Children of God” is a wonderful title to be attached to your name. I remember reading one of Grace Livingston Hills books many years ago where one of her characters scratches some words in the wood on the door of his airplane as he feels his life ebbing away. He remembers someone talking to him about becoming a believer and he indicated his acceptance by inscribing the words, “Gareth, Child of God.” How about it? I like the sound of “Rowland, Child of God.” How about your name with those words inscribed after it.