John 1:10-12 - Homilies By D. Young
Receiving Christ, and the result of it.
I. CHRIST IGNORED . "The world knew him not." This statement is humiliating to the world, not to Christ. The world makes a great parade of its insight and its power to give deciding verdicts; but here is its very Maker in its midst, yet it knows him not. Here surely is the crowning sin of the world, that it knows not him who is the Fountain of all its boasted powers. Were the world what it ought to be, it would welcome its Maker, rejoicing in the presence of him who gave its intellect and all the material on which that intellect is so busy. In the face of this statement of John, it should not trouble us that so much of the world's intellect and grandeur ignores Christ. A man with the worldly spirit strong in him is contented with his own infallibility and certainty. Rather let us, when we see the world's complacent ignoring of Christ, contrast it with the Christian's substantial knowledge of him. And seeing that the world, with all its knowledge, knows not Christ, let us bear in mind how many things the Christian himself does not yet know.
II. CHRIST IGNORED WHERE MOST OF ALL HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN RECEIVED . The reference is doubtless to Christ's coming into the land of Israel. He was not only the world's Maker, but Israel's Messiah, and Israel failed to recognize him in either capacity. They did not give him even a provisional reception till such time as his claim could be examined; for such seems the force of παρέλαβον . They were prejudiced against him from the very first. Every word and act were twisted against trim. What candour there is in these admissions of John! Christianity fears no statement of facts. The more emphatic and bitter human rejections became the more clearly the necessity of a Christ was proved.
III. RECEIVING CHRIST , AND ITS RESULT . Here is the whole truth. The world cannot receive Christ, but always there are some who go out from the world because they are not of the world. Among the children of men there is a rejecting spirit and a receiving spirit. He who receives Christ must be all the more determined and cordial in his reception, because he sees so many rejecting; and he who is at all inclined to consider the claims of Christ must be careful not to be turned aside because so many are indifferent. See with your own eyes. All true things have met with scorn and persecution at first. But what is it to receive Christ? Evidently to deliver ourselves over to his rule and authority. If a man should receive a traveller into his house, and give trim henceforth the disposition of everything there, that would give the analogy as to how we should receive Christ; and so receiving Christ, we gain the right to become sons of God. We have our part in the natural world's existence through Christ, and that comes without our willing; but a part in the highest attainment belonging to human life, even sonship towards God, can only come through our voluntary submission to Christ. Jesus gives true and humble disciples the right to become sons of God; and teaching them to say, "Our Father, who art in heaven," he involves the constant remembrance of this right in every true prayer.—Y.
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