Receiving Jesus

A cartoon showed two angels looking down at the earth from their position in heaven. One of them says, “I wonder why God pays so much attention to that particular planet?” The other angel answers, “I think it’s because he visited there once.”

John’s gospel begins with the account of God’s visit to earth. It says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (1:1).

The phrase “in the beginning” reminds us of how the Bible begins, with God creating the heavens and the earth. John connects the arrival of Jesus to God’s continuing creative work. Through Jesus God will bring spiritually dead people to life. Through Jesus God will create a family of believers. Through Jesus God will create a church where these believers can live in fellowship with each other and with God.

The “Word” obviously refers to Jesus. Jesus never had a beginning. He was always with God, and he indeed was God. Many cults, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, try to deny the deity of Christ. Scripture, however, will not allow us to take that position. Jesus insisted that he and the Father were one. He said that if you have seen the Father, you have seen him. Verse 2 of this text says that Jesus made everything. If you made everything, that makes you God!

Verse 14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his swelling among us…” Jesus was to be called “Immanuel”, which means “God with us”. God chose to come to this earth so that he could identify with us. While he walked this earth, he got hot and cold, hungry and thirsty, tired and weary. He was tempted just as we are, but he never sinned. He willingly laid down his sinless life to pay the price for our sinful ones. Then he rose from the dead, proving that all his claims to divinity were true. And everyone who believes in the crucified and resurrected Jesus will not have to perish, but will have eternal life.

This passage from John 1 points out that we have a choice to make concerning Jesus. It says in vv.11-12, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Our choice is to either receive Jesus or not receive him. When Jesus first arrived on earth, some received him and some didn’t. The Jewish religious leaders, who should have been the first to receive Jesus, did not. King Herod certainly did not receive Jesus! But the shepherds who heard the good news did receive him. So did the wise men who travelled from far away to worship the newborn king.

The choice remains for us today to either receive Jesus or reject him. There is no third option. Those who receive him are allowed to become children of God. They enjoy the blessings of living in God’s family, not only in this life, but forever! Those who don’t receive him spend their entire lives, including eternity, outside of God’s family, and they suffer the awful consequences of their decision.

The most important decision you will ever make is to receive Jesus, God in the flesh, as your Lord and Savior. Believe in him! Confess that he is Lord! Turn from your sins! Be united with him in baptism! And continue to live for Jesus for the rest of your life! You will never regret your decision to receive Jesus!

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