John 1:6-13, NIV

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that
through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light;
he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives
light to every man was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through
him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which
was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who
received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the
right to become children of God-- 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born
of God.


 

August 30, 2010 
There was a man named John; we know him as the Baptist. No longer
alive 
when this Gospel was written, yet he was still widely known and revered. Although he died young, he had left his mark. People
knew his story, 
respected his integrity and fearlessness. He was a
most credible witness; 
there was none greater than John to vouch
for the authenticity of the Christ.
John the Baptist was not the light,
although he may have been tempted to 
think he was during the
height of his popularity when crowds of people 
walked many miles
out into the desert to hear him preach and be baptized 
by him. But
through all the hoopla, 
John remained true to his purpose in life, 
which was to point people toward the true light that was coming
into the world. 
When that Light came, the world--the one he was
present with God and 
helped to create--failed to recognize him!

The fact is when he came to his own kind of people, they were not interested, even skeptical. We shouldn't be too surprised at that.
How many of us are any good at recognizing the 
presence of God
walking in our midst? How many of us care what God is 
doing in
our world? Or make the effort to explore such possibilities? Like 
those people of old, we too fill our days with other things and
sadly at 
times find darkness more appealing than light.

But here's the good news--all who received the light with open
minds and hearts and believed with child-like trust, these are the
ones he guided along the pathway toward becoming children of
God! Born, not only to earthly parents, but more importantly, born
of Almighty God! Completing the circle. Intentionally claiming and
accepting the hand of their Maker. Alive not because of human
sexual passion, but to fulfill the purposes of God. Belonging
not to this earth, but to our loving heavenly Father.


 

                                                                       More journal entries

October 26, 2001 
"His own" are people who belong to God. Belonging is a basic
human need. Children join gangs and people do both good and
evil in order to fulfill the need to belong. The Gospels invite us
to belong to Jesus and allow the Light to invade our darkness.
Jesus, help me to live this day in the awareness that I belong to
you. So that as the Light shines into my world, I will recognize 
and receive You.

 

October 27, 2001 
Jesus did come, yet the world is still so dark.  Look at the mess we
are in!  
Bombs are dropping. Mail is powdered with anthrax or
packed with 
explosives. People oppress, abuse and torture each
other. 
We worry 
about our water and contaminants in our
food supply.

Our world today sounds just as dark as John portrayed it in his
day. Jesus comes to us, too, but we don't notice. Even "his own"
neglect his presence and miss out. But all who do receive and
believe, become God's children. Not because of words on our
birth record. But by God's mercy and grace we receive the right,
the ability, the possibility. Whether or not we become children
in God's likeness is up to us. We have that option, the God-given 
power to do so. So go for it.

 

Oct 31, 2001 
The true light. Does that mean there are false lights? The true
light gives light to all. By the time John wrote this Gospel, the
first generation of Christians had heard and witnessed things
in the name of Christianity that did not ring true. The purity of
the Gospel story was becoming contaminated. Several of the
letters which complete the New Testament mention false 
teaching as a problem in the early church. Maybe that's why
John wrote this Gospel, to tell the old, original story once again,
about the true light that came to give light to all--men, women
and children, from every nation and tribe, slave or free, rich
or poor, saint and sinner.

Falsehoods abound in religion as in all of life. How should we
decide to believe one thing over another? Most things we argue
about in our places of worship don't matter. John in his Gospel
tells us what does matter, beginning with the Light that came
into the world, that great and wonderful gift of the Father that
was not recognized, appreciated, accepted nor believed. But to
those who do turn aside, like Moses at the burning bush, and
recognize something of significance that needs further exploration--
to these God sets before them the possibility of becoming his
true children.

In the next verses the Gospel writer makes it very clear that
John the Baptist's recognition of Jesus as the promised Messiah,
was not learned from any other man, but was revealed to him
directly from God. What John the Baptist knew came from the
primary Source. It was true.


February 25, 1982
John the Baptist, a witness, sharing what he knew about the light.
 John was called to tell people about the light before the light
appeared. We are called to witness two thousand years after that
light appeared.  We 
become light as we witness to the light. We
share whatwe have known 
and experienced, how the light has
made a difference in our lives.

 

February 26, 1982
The Baptist was not the star, he was the one who introduced
the star. It's easy to get caught up in the charisma of a great
witness, so John was careful to constantly point to Jesus. John
set the stage, got people ready, got them thinking and expecting
something good from God. He prepared the way and cultivated
the soil so people would be receptive to the word, the life and
the light.

 

February 27, 1982
The Gospel writer is gradually coming to the point that the light
is Jesus. The light shines upon every one--interesting concept.
What did he mean? Was he comparing Jesus to the sun which
doesn't discriminate but in the orderly pattern of the universe,
can be depended upon to give light to all?

I claim not to be able to understand the mind of God. I don't
understand the mind of man either, nor my own. The attractiveness
of evil is just as mysterious as the patience of God. Lust, gossip,
laziness, dishonesty, behaving like God doesn't exist, are all
examples. Like in over-eating, I know what is good for me, yet
I settle on salt, sugar and fats. Why? Donuts, ice cream, potato
chips--how good they taste--but it's a slow form of suicide.

People choose darkness, I choose darkness; that's so hard to
understand logically. His light shines on me and on everyone
else. If God is good and his life plan produces the positives
which make our lives good, then why, in God's name, do we
still embrace evil?

I need to change my way of thinking and stop thinking the bad
stuff is good. As a Christian I'm destined to live well, to eat right,
and walk in the way of God's kingdom. People need these
positive messages otherwise we believe that human nature
takes over and we are helpless to choose otherwise. I am not
innately evil or bad; God created me good and in his own image.
I don't belong to the lord of temptation; I belong to the Lord of
life and light. I need to hear that message again and again.

 

August 31, 2010
Who are the children of God? All of us or just some of us?
Technically, if you believe the creation story in the first two
chapters of Genesis, then we are all God's children. When Jesus
taught his disciples to pray, the first words out of his mouth
were, "Our Father . . . ." That's a broad stroke and we are all
included.

But other dimensions to this debate were added at other places
in the Bible which indicate we are God's people if we choose to be.
Being a child of God is a gift of grace, a gift that needs to be
received. A holy "yes" is required on our part; and a hand that
reaches out to accept the gift.

Being someone's child can be a matter of name only. Or it can
be a vital, living, loving relationship. Jesus came to show us how
to get from the former to the latter. John, the Gospel writer, uses
extreme terminology to describe what it means to become a
child of God. He says it's like coming out of the darkness into the
light, or being called forth from the grave into the marvelous
life of God.

Are we all children of God? Or just some of us? I believe our world
would
be greatly enriched if we all prayed the Lord's Prayer with
an inclusive attitude. If we truly looked upon each other as
brothers and sisters most of our universal problems would be
greatly diminished. There could be peace, all would be fed, and
no one would be left alone and unloved. 
But that's not the world
we live in. And even brothers and sisters can be 
treacherous
toward each other. So what are we to do? Individually we 
can
lift our eyes and "hunger and thirst for righteousness" as Jesus
said in 
one of his beatitudes. And that's where Jesus takes us
by the hand and 
says, "Come, follow me."

Those who accept his invitation are the ones in this passage who
receive him with love, trusting him to be who he said he is. God's
children walk by faith, clothed in humility and bursting with
gratitude for the mercies and loving kindness of their Father
in heaven. Belonging to God is more than a creation story, it's
a life long re-creation experience.


March 4, 1982
To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave
power to become children of God; . . .
--Revised Standard Version

Was thinking about this verse yesterday. I want so much not to
miss the mark, but to accept God into my life. To live my life for
him, with him, and through him. To me he gives the promise of 
power. I am not weak when I am a child of God. His resources
are available to me. I do not have to be afraid of my inadequacies.
The strength, ability and wisdom to do the job comes from him.
The willingness, disciplined living, and obedience come from me.
Under these conditions I am ready and look forward to the
future with great anticipation and joy.

                  <prev                                                        next>