“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name…” (John 1:12).
John’s gospel begins by abruptly announcing that God became flesh and took up residence among men (John 1:1,14). Though many rejected him, some received him. Those who received him were given the highest honor- the right to be the sons of God.
According to the text, receiving Jesus equals believing in His name. His name is significant whether it is “Christ” or “Immanuel.” His name sets before us the object of faith. One becomes a son of God on the condition of faith in Christ (Galatians 3:26,27). There is no son-ship without this living faith.
Faith in Christ involves more than mere belief of truth, though that is involved. It involves more than just believing: “Jesus died for me.” It is trusting in the person of Christ. One must believe on Christ for salvation. They must trust Him as the all-sufficient mediator and obey him as Lord (Mt. 7:21-23).
Just what is offered to those who receive Jesus? They are given the right to become children of God. This exalted position is more than a title. It involves participation in the greatest blessing a human can receive including the promise of being the heir of an eternal home (Rom. 8:17,18). However, this exalted position comes with responsibilities that accompany this noble relationship (Eph. 4:1,2).
Sadly, John tells us the majority, including the educated and influential, rejected him. It is easy to follow the crowd (John 1:10,11). Following Jesus involves independence and a decision of character. However, the rewards will be well worth it.
It is better to receive the one who was “despised and rejected of men” than to reap the consequences of rejecting him.