John continues to hammer away at who Jesus is. “He is the true light who gives light to every man coming in to the world.” He uses “true” in the sense of “original,” or “genuine.” There is hardly a more clear way within the metaphor of light, to declare that Jesus is God. The Light of Jesus is real, perfect, and substantial, as opposed to fanciful, counterfeit, or merely symbolic. He is the real deal, and not any kind of just a prophet, or angel, or heavenly being, or good teacher. Those aren’t choices here. He is the original and genuine Light.
“He sheds light on every person.” Anybody can see it; everybody can see it. His light is see-able, no matter who you are. Our author is going to develop this point as he will bring person after person to the witness stand, so to speak, and let us know that person could see the Light of God that is Jesus.
Now comes a shocker: “He was in the world, and even though the world was made by him, they didn’t recognize him.” What??? He is the manifestation of God, the Creator of all that is, and the Light of God emanates from him, and they missed it, even though he was standing next to them? What??? Either they refused to see, or they failed to recognize him. Well, he did come in disguise, so to speak. He came as a humble servant, not as a big-shot king. It’s also true, though, that a lot of people just don’t want to see.
But here’s a secret: why all the hiddenness and riddles? Why not be in your face about it all? It has to be this way, because people have to respond to him out of faith and love, or the response is false. And if they have to respond out of faith and love, then he has to stay hidden and woo them, and reveal himself in ways that demand faith as a response. Since it has to be a love relationship that is chosen, then he can’t be in your face and force anything on you.
But anyone—anyone at all—who wants to see, and wants to have a love relationship with God, it’s right there waiting for you. Jesus will accept anyone, even a rejecter, or someone who didn’t recognize him, and if that person will choose to love Him, He will adopt you as His child. Now that’s awesome. The end of the story isn’t “Punishment to all the Rejecters! Kill them all!!” but instead, “If you turn in my direction, I’ll be thrilled to take you in.”
In America, when you fall in love with a person and you want to spend your whole life loving that person, you get married, and then the two of you are family. It’s the same thing here. If you will choose to spend your whole life loving God, the two of you can become family, because he already loves you like that. That’s what we call “accepting Jesus into your heart.” You are choosing to love him, and in response you acquire the full privileges of immediate family.
This thought leaps suddenly off the page with the power of a tsunami. All John has talked about so far is more esoteric and philosophical notions about Logos, light, and life. Then there was the religiously confusing (in their polytheistic culture) notion of the Light coming in to the world, but then out of nowhere he dares assert that we may become children of God. What? We have the privilege and the capability of becoming God’s children? It’s too radical to be grasped.
In their culture the gods had children, but people were just around to serve the gods, and to be the subject of their whims. We had no rights—certainly no authority—to be or do anything, let alone become an exalted child. What is being offered is a heretofore unheard of and unthinkable status and destiny.
And what we have to do to attain to this position is to accept the relationship that has been created and offered to us: align with Jesus, endorse his teaching, and take on his nature. It’s a beautiful thing.
Talk to me. This is earthshaking.