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The Word–Jn. 1:10-11 [6]

The Word–Jn. 1:10-11 [6]

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

We have previously seen the Lord Jesus as light coming into the world as the fulfilment of God’s revelation. God had communicated with man and this climaxed in the person of Christ. He was light streaming into the world, but now we see him in his personal nearness. God had shone the search and rescue light into this world to seek the lost, but now we see the person behind the light as Christ comes in his personal manifestation.

In verse 10 we are back to John’s familiar use of the imperfect tense; the idea being that Christ was ever in the world, it includes the incarnation but is wider than it too. It is the “imperfect tense of continuous existence in the universe before the Incarnation as in verses 1 and 2”[1].  The eternal Word, who pre-existed all things, has been in the world since its foundation was laid. He is not some distant uninterested deity, but is the omnipresent God who has always inhabited this world. The Psalmist appreciated something of this when he said “if I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me” (Ps. 139:8-10). Paul was right: “he is not far from each one of us” (Act. 17:27, NKJV).

We further learn; the world that he inhabited was the world that he had made. Christ was the occupier and owner of the entire universe, he was the landlord and man the tenant, yet planet Earth did not know him. Though he was the proprietor of the universe he was viewed as an alien to the human race; they did not recognise him. Kenneth Wuest correctly captures the use of the word world (kosmos) here, translating verse 10; “in the universe (kosmos) he was, and the universe (kosmos) through his intermediate agency came into existence, and the world of sinners (kosmos) did not have an experiential knowledge of him.” This mirrors the reasoning of Paul; “although they knew God (as Creator), they did not glorify Him as God” (Rom. 1:21). Mankind knew the facts about God but it did not result in a relationship with him. Man’s knowledge made him proud, but we see in the following verse that the love of God reached further – by application “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Cor. 8:1).

In light of such rejection God had every right to abandon the people of this world. The Lord could have left sinful man marooned on the barren rock of planet Earth, alone in a dark and cold universe without a shred of hope – astoundingly we read that Christ came. The Word who was ever with God and lacked nothing, left all and came into this world.

In particular verse 11 tells us that he came to his own things, but his own people received him not. He came to his own property but his own possession did not want him. He came to his own house, but he was afforded no welcome.

In a particular sense he came to his own nation and people, Israel. If the Lord was going to visit enemy territory Israel ought to have been a haven for him. But alas, it was not so. Though God calls them “my heritage Israel” (Joe. 3:2), and to them alone belonged the glory and the covenants and the promises (Rom. 9:4), they were the ones that said we will not have this man. God had visited his people in the person of his Son; the seed of Abraham in whom every family of earth would be blessed, and yet they cut themselves off from blessing.

How sad that we have read of his first coming where many did not receive (paralambanō) him. And yet he has received us and is coming a second time, not to rejection but to an eternal welcome, for he has said “I will come again, and receive (paralambanō) you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:3).


[1] Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-1.html

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