December 03, 2012
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
And the world knew Him not … His own received Him not.
He was in the world His own hands had made. Everything bore witness to His handiwork. His “fingerprints” were everywhere to be seen. Yet He was unknown. The “world knew Him not.” But then He came to His own things: His nation, people, city, throne, and Temple, yet He was unaccepted. His credentials were displayed for all to see. He came with signs to point the nation to His identity, yet eyes were blind and hearts were hardened.
He moved amongst men “doing good,” during those three years of public ministry; at the end He was unappreciated. Every good found some alternate explanation in the reasoning of men, whether they could ascribe it to Satan or to some other cause.
Unknown, unwelcome, unappreciated – perhaps the most difficult of environments in which to move. Yet He moved here for those many days, each day being a fresh reminder of mankind’s response to Him, but never was He deterred from doing good. The hatred of men could never hinder the flow of love from His heart toward them. The ingratitude of humanity only served as a stark backdrop for the beauty of His every response. Grace and gentleness, meekness and majesty, kindness and care, and (as verse 14 will tell) grace and truth, all were displayed perfectly in Him moment by moment.
Amidst them moved the “veiled infinitude,” the eternal God, yet men went about their lives – at the best unmoved, and at the worst indignant for the intrusion He had made into their lives.
Anyone who has felt, even in human relationships, the bitterness of rejection can begin to feel what He must have felt. Rejected day by day, by the masses of men. Yet we cannot know what He felt. He was never bitter or hardened by it in contrast to our reactions. Our grief over rejection is self-centered. His grief had two dimensions which caused Him infinite sorrow: men were rejecting Him to their own hurt; but more, they were rejecting the Father in rejecting Him. Perhaps this latter grief was the heaviest He ever experienced in His dealing with men (see John 13:20). He had come to bring worshipers to the Father. As men rejected Him, they were disqualifying themselves from the potential of becoming worshipers.
He was selfless in every aspect of His life.
1. The rejection of Christ begins in John’s Gospel from chapter 1 and climaxes at the cross. Here in chapter one, it is linked with His claims as Creator. Each chapter highlights something more of His rejection by the nation. Trace it through John’s writings.
2. Notice the difference in verse 11 between “He came to His own things” and “His own people” received Him not. The expression “His own” will divide the Gospel of John when it occurs again in chapter 13:1 where “His own” will be defined in a different manner.