(ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 ( John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.'”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

John’s introduction to his gospel is brilliant – it is both apologetic (in declaring the deity of Christ against those of his day who denied this) and urgent (it gets right to the point of his gospel). The pertinent passage for what I’m attempting to see is verses 10-13.

Before I get there, however, verse 4 serves as the appropriate introduction to what John unpacks in 10-13. “In him was life…” How often do we stop to think about the fact that life is found only in Christ – in his very person. So often I look to the good things that Christ gives to me or even at the good things that Christ DID for me as the source of my life (such as dying for sins or living the perfect life). We aren’t saved simply because Christ died and was raised, but we are saved when we are united to the person of Christ who died and was raised. The gospel is clear (and John gets back to this in chapter 6 when Jesus declares himself to be the Bread of Life, but let’s not jump ahead of ourselves) that finding life or our righteousness in anything other than Christ himself is idolatry or false religiosity. “In him was life…”

On to verses 10-13…to paraphrase, Jesus made the world, but the world did not know him. This is similar to what Paul declares in Romans 1 that the Creation declares God’s handiwork and people know God through his creation, but actively suppress this knowledge (see Romans 1:19-25). Then Jesus came to his own people, but his own people did not know him or receive him.

This is a pretty amazing picture of the gospel if you stop to think about it. Instead of focusing on those who by birth were his people (i.e. the Jews) and therefore the ones who rightfully deserved to be “the sons of God” he became unknown to them for the sake of being known by the true “sons of God” – those who “receive him, who believed in his name.” He came to his own people (i.e. the chosen people of God) in order to be rejected by them so that those who are not his people might become the chosen people of God.

Isn’t that an amazing truth? He was disenfranchised and disinherited by his own people so that “those who believe in his name” might become his true people. To say it most simply – he was rejected by those who most deserved him so that those who deserved nothing could receive him.