Every person has 1 of 3 responses to Jesus. The good news is, if you are reading this, you still have time to choose wisely.
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:10-12)
The introduction to John’s gospel is different from the introductions to Matthew, Mark and Luke.
In John’s gospel, we are given a description of the pre-incarnate Christ; the Son of God before he put on human flesh. John calls Jesus the “Word” (John 1:1).
This preamble continues into the middle of the first chapter. This is where we find today’s passage. As John is introducing the reader to Christ, he offers us 3 responses that the world had to God once he came to earth.
We all make 1 of these 3 responses to Jesus Christ, even if we think we aren’t responding at all.
The World Didn’t Recognize Jesus
The first group of responders are those who did not recognize Jesus Christ at all.
There are many types of people who do not recognize Jesus Christ.
There are those who don’t care to seek after anything spiritual. For this type of person, religion is a crutch, or they have found something else to worship. Even if they wouldn’t call it that.
In a case like this, it wouldn’t matter whether or not Jesus distinguishes himself from other religions, because no religion matters.
There are also those who don’t consider the exclusivity of Jesus as God’s one and only Son, or His plan of salvation. They either have a general, shallow belief in God, or they follow a different faith system entirely.
We would expect to hear things such as “I have an understanding with the man upstairs”, “I’m a good person”, or “sincerity of belief is what matters” from these people.
And unfortunately, recognizing that evil does exist in this world, some people would rather not think about or consider God. They would rather fulfill their evil desires.
The good news is that for many who now follow Jesus Christ, they were once part of the world that didn’t recognize Jesus Christ. They came to know Him by way of personal introduction or mission-minded intervention.
Were you once a person like this? Or are you still, and just “happening” to stumble on this article? If the latter, please take some time to learn more about Jesus Christ.
Even His Own People Rejected Jesus
Another of the possible 3 responses to Jesus are those who recognize who He claims to be and reject Christ anyway.
Specifically, John in this passage is referring to the Jewish people of Jesus’ day. But now, over 2,000 years later, we can expand this definition.
Throughout the entire age of the Christian Church, people have recognized Jesus Christ for who He was, only to eventually reject Him.
Some forms of rejection are obvious. We are able to see when people openly say no to Jesus Christ after being shown who He is. These rejections can range from the blatant to the apathetic.
Equally as tragic, but perhaps more painful are those we know who have followed Jesus Christ for a time, and then chose to walk away. While Christ’s gift of salvation is secured by His act of sacrifice for our sins, our free will remains. Unfortunately, some choose to follow their own will rather than Christ’s.
Perhaps it became too hard to follow Him. Or something more enticing came along. Maybe a person chose to follow their own wisdom rather than submit to God’s.
The Bible records an event where, after some particularly difficult teachings from Jesus, many in the crowds that followed Him chose to walk away (John 6:66). The Bible calls these people “disciples”. These were not casual followers.
We are also seeing this happen before our very eyes in the United States. The Pew Research Center has complied information showing a double-digit decline in American Millennials who claim to be Christian from 2009 to 2019.
If we know a believer who has walked away from the faith, we should continue to pray for them, and show them the love of Christ. Rejection of Christ does not have to be permanent. There is still hope for the wandering soul.
Those That Believed and Accepted Jesus
We have saved the best of the 3 responses to Jesus for last.
God does not desire to be a tyrant. He wants us to seek Him, love Him, and worship Him. God’s desire is to treat followers of Jesus as His own children. And like a good father, His blessings are beyond description.
And in the life to come, we have the promise of eternal life in a restored Eden (Revelation 22:1-5).
If you have made this third response to Jesus, rejoice, and endure to the end. Continually pray for and seek out those who have made the other 2 responses, and invite them to join you in believing and accepting Jesus.
More Bible verses about responding to Jesus: