“He came to His own but His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man, but of God.”

John 1:11-13

Perhaps the defining moment for Israel as a nation was the Exodus from Egypt, when God sent Moses to Pharaoh with the demand that he “Let My people go!” (Exodus 5:1). Because God had chosen this nation, He said “Israel is My son, My firstborn” (Exodus 4:22) and it is this nation that are called “His own” here in John 1:11.

Although they had been entrusted with “the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1-2) that foretold in great detail the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the Jews as a nation would not accept Him. The apostle Peter, himself a Jew, stood in the shadow of their great temple and reprimanded the Jewish people, saying: “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you” (Acts 3:14).

During the early part of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He told His apostles not to go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans; “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). Indeed, when a Gentile woman came to Jesus asking for help, He tried to send her away saying, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). But after the Jews had Jesus put to death, the risen Lord expanded His mission and authorised His apostles to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18-20).

The apostolic gospel has ever since been offered freely to all nations with the promise that as many as receive Him are given the right to become something they never were before– children of God. This is not based on family connections or national heritage or human effort but is entirely a work of God that Jesus will later describe more fully as being “born again” (John 3:1-8). You can claim this right today through believing “in His name.” His name represents all that He is, so to believe in His name means to accept as true the revelation of His identity and what He has done, and as a result to entrust your eternal destiny to Him. What an exceedingly precious promise!


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