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. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name: Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13, KJ2000)
What a magnificent passage this is! “The world knew Him not. He came to His own and His own received Him not.” He was the very One who created the heavens and the earth, but its inhabitants didn’t know Christ when He came and dwelt among them. Sure, they knew He was from Nazareth and everyone knew that no good thing could come out of that backwater town. But very few who lived in Israel at that time really knew Him. Yet there were those who were given the power to become the children of God. How many who claim His name today really know Him in a love relationship?
Once again we see this Greek word ginosko translated knew and it means not only a mental knowledge of who Jesus was and is, but it means that there is an intimate relationship with the One who is known. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God.” There is a receiving and taking Him into us and not just a mental knowledge of who He is. Formal education of the Bible or theology does all of us a great disservice until we can cut through our mental gymnastics into a heart to heart and Spirit to spirit relationship with Him. The Jewish establishment knew a lot about Jesus and they thought that they knew just how and when the Messiah would come but they did not receive Him. It was the harlots, publicans and tax collectors that received Him into their homes and to them it was given the power to become the children of God. These were the most despised people by the “righteous” ones of Israel, yet it was to these that the power to become the children of God was given.
This week while we were shopping for a car for my wife Dorothy, I met a man by the last name of Singh. It was one of those divine appointments that happen ever so often when you least expect it as we abide in the Spirit of Christ. As I was listening to this man, the Lord spoke to me and said, “He is one of mine.” I asked Singh if he was from India and he affirmed that he came to Canada from India as a young boy and later his family moved to the USA. This man was in charge of making sure that the payment and all the paper work for the cars sold on this lot were done properly. We were in the process of trying to electronically transferring the funds and it was not going easy when the Lord told me to tell Him what He was showing me about this man. Finally I said to him, “God is showing me that you are one of His.” He blinked a couple of times and then said, “Don’t worry about the electronic transferring of the funds, I can see that you are honest people and can be trusted. We will accept your check.” Imagine that a personal check from total strangers from an out of state bank for thousands of dollars!
Jesus spoke of the final judgment.
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matt 25:37-40, ESV2011 – emphasis added)
Mr. Singh received us as God’s children. I had to give him a hug. It was a wonderful moment of the love of God flowing between us even though we were strangers a half hour earlier. After the deal was done, he invited us to stop by and see him again.
This morning I was reading in my daily devotional “Open Windows” this quote from T. Austin-Sparks spoke to me:
All of us reflect the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces, we are becoming more like Him with ever-increasing glory by the Lord’s Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 ISV)
I believe that if we are living in the radiance of Divine Life, there will be something of it betrayed by our faces. At any rate, the world will know something if we are really living in touch with the Lord, and there will be a language which only the spiritual can enjoy and understand. There will be those spiritual counterparts of the seed of Abraham, a people different from all the rest…
You cannot fit them in with other things, and it is not because they are awkward and difficult and deliberately irritate people, but there is that which by reason of their spiritual constitution marks them off; and if they did but know it, this is the secret of their influence in the world.
The progress and increase of spiritual Life means this, that the gap widens all the time between the children of God and those in the world who are not such. That is not to be taken literally in this sense, that we begin a mistaken system of hiving off, shutting ourselves up, getting out of touch. That is a wrong application of the principle. The Lord Jesus is preeminently our example in that He could move in any circle, and He did so deliberately, publicans and sinners, all classes, He moved among them, but His power over them was in His basic difference from them. Let us be careful how we are caught in this great movement of conforming to this age. To conform is to lose spiritual power.
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