The One who made the world came into it as a Man, but the world did not know Him. He was the rightful King of Israel, but His own nation did not receive Him. There were those who did, however, and there are those today who believe on His Name of divine and royal worth. He Himself gives to such the right, without question, to take the place of God’s children, for their faith shows they are born of God. The Spirit of God guided John to write thus concerning Jesus, the Christ, the True Light,—“He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power (right) to become the children of God, even to them that believe on His Name” (John 1:9-12).
“THE WORLD WAS MADE BY HIM.” When such an One gives a right to any, who could question that right? He is the eternal Word, who was with God, and was God. All things received being through Him. Nothing came forth without Him. But He Himself came into the world. He became flesh; and His personal glory was (we are told by those who saw Him), “as of an only-begotten with a father” (John 1:14, N.Tr.). There was a measure of light granted before, but His coming into the world brought “the true Light” for all; not for favoured Israel only. He could not be less than “the Light of the world” when He came. To have Him is to have “the true Light” (1:9). Men seek hither and thither for “new light,” “more light,” or “fresh light.” Elsewhere we read once of “the true light” as that which “already shines” (1 John 2:8). To be lured by false light is to be led into darkness. John the Baptist bore witness of the true Light, who,—though He came “after” John in time, was preferred before him in honour, for He was “before” John (John 1:15). Yes, through Him the world was made, therefore He was necessarily “before” John, yet coming in grace He was born six months “after” John. And as to honour, who else could have the pre-eminence in this world, save the world’s Maker, should He graciously come into it? Colossians 1 shows that the Son is pre-eminent in creation because by Him all things were created, and He is “before all.”
“HE CAME TO HIS OWN” (neuter), and “His own (masc.) received Him not.” But there were those who did, and He Himself gave the right to such to be children of God. They believed on His Name, having received in faith the truth of who and what the world’s Maker and Israel’s King is. They were “born of God” (John 1:13). A new family thus appears. The Lord had brought Israel out of the fierce furnace of Egyptian bondage. But when tested under law, they proved themselves a perverse generation, rebellious children, and when their rightful Ruler came to His own rights, He was refused them. Then He uses His divine and royal prerogative, to grant to those who receive Him in faith, the unquestionable “RIGHT” to take the place of God’s children. Today these have the witness of the Spirit, and the love of the Father assuring them of that relationship, being born of God, yet “the right” granted sovereignly by the Son adds boldness to our divinely assured faith. How vastly important and encouraging is this Word. The MAKER OF THE WORLD, ISRAEL’S KING, JESUS, the Son of God, unknown by the world, and refused His own crown and kingdom by Israel, has given to those who receive Him, the right to take this honoured place of relationship and blessedness,—THE PLACE OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. How great and glorious is the One who grants this right! How rich is the right granted to those who believe on such an One! What holy confidence is thus imparted! Everlasting praise be His. The world was made through Him! Israel’s throne belongs to Him! God’s children are abidingly blessed by Him.
He is the Word, who was with God, and was God, through Whom all things came forth. He says, “I was set up (anointed) from eternity, from the beginning, before the earth was” (Prov. 8:23). Again we read, “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together … Let all the earth fear the Lord” (Ps. 33:6, 8). “This is hidden from men through their own wilfulness” (2 Peter 3:5). “By the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth.” But by faith “we apprehend that the worlds were framed by the Word of God” (Heb. 11:3). And God has spoken to us fully and finally in the Son (or Sonwise), “by Whom He made the worlds” (1:1-2). And the apostle wrote of Him as our “one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him” (1 Cor. 8:6). This is the One on whose holy Name we have believed, who gives us divinely the right which is ours.
After He had raised Lazarus from death and corruption, many of the Jews believed on Him; and “on the morrow a great crowd” took branches of palms, and cried, “Hosanna, BLESSED IS THE KING OF ISRAEL that comes in the Name of the Lord” (John 12:13); and fulfilling the Scripture long before written of Him, He “found a young ass, and sat thereon”: as it is said, “Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, THY KING comes, sitting on an ass’s colt” (John 12:15). Come of chosen David’s royal line legally through Joseph and Solomon (Matt. 1), and Mary by the Holy Spirit through Nathan (Luke 3), He came “out of Bethlehem” as was foretold. And they said, “This is the Heir; come, let us kill Him.” Indeed, they proposed in their council to “put Lazarus also to death. Because that by reason of Him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus” (John 10). Pilate enquired of Him in the judgment hall, “Art Thou a King then?” Jesus answered, “Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice” (John 18:37). When, however, the Roman governor sought to release Him, the Jews cried out, “If thou let this Man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar.” And they cried aloud, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him.” And the chief priest answered Pilate, when he asked, “Shall I crucify your King?” “We have no king but Caesar.” But when He was crucified, over the cross “Pilate wrote a title”—“JESUS, THE NAZAREAN, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” That was true; and God has raised Him from the grave; He sits enthroned on high now, at His right hand. The day is hastening, when repentant Israel will be converted, saved, and ruled over by Him as their rightful King and Lord. Isaiah has foretold this: “The government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELLOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE … upon the throne of His father David” (9:6-7). And this is the divinely royal One who has given us “the right to take the place of the children of God!” Do we cherish that right with intelligence and affection? Do we loyally value the right now, as those who are born of God, before Israel’s day of repentance and restoration comes?
“Israel’s race shall soon behold Him,
Full of grace and majesty;
Though they set at nought and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree;
Now in glory
Shall their great Messiah see.”
Nearer still is the day when He will come to the air, and call up in power those He has called out in grace; raising the sleeping, changing the living, to bring us all to His Father’s house before He shines forth in glorious splendour.
Truly, all “thrones” are His, not only Israel’s. Yea, all “dominions principalities and powers” too. All were “created by Him and for Him”—all things were created by the Son, as we are told, “the visible and invisible” (Col. 1:16). Moreover, this glorious “SON” is “BEFORE ALL THINGS,” and on the ground of the peace made by “the blood of His cross” (v. 20), all positions of honour and glory will be righteously reconciled to the fullness which dwells in Him, “the Son of the Father’s love,” the Christ, the risen and exalted Head of His body, the assembly. How great and glorious is our Saviour, Lord and Head! Eternal praise and blessing be His.
God’s children have His own sovereign prerogative for happily taking the place He gives us. Not carelessly, but with joy and reverent thankfulness, we may well do so. Not lightly, but with deep appreciation of the glory and love of the One who has thus favoured us; and gratitude to God who has brought us to faith in His glorious Name; for, as we have seen, He died not for Israel only, but that He might “gather together into one the children of God who are scattered. abroad.” Great are our precious Saviour’s glory and love truly! And He is ten thousand times more worthy of united thanksgivings and praise and worship than we have ever yet given Him!