Prepare to listen. Remind yourself God is present, closer to you than you are to yourself. Pray: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Prayerfully Read John 1:9-13
9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
Jesus came to his own, those who claimed to see clearly and yet “his own people did not accept him.” And then comes a little yet loaded word—BUT, followed by a profound truth: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” The verse, tucked away in the middle of John’s Prologue, introduces a central theme of the gospel—power given freely to all and sundry to become children of God. All people, not merely his own (Jews), regardless of race, who receive and believe in his name, are welcomed. They’re given extraordinary power to become children of God. It sounds easy—just receive and believe. And, in a sense it is easy, a gift of God freely given. But, there is a catch. Receiving and believing involves total commitment, “not only assent of the mind, but the allegiance of the whole person,” as Lesslie Newbigin puts it . Jesus demands no less.
The but is significant. It shows us the depth of what Jesus came to reveal, what he invites us to come and see. We’ve been given power to become a child of God in Christ Jesus. Some days life seems so contrary to what it could be, we feel so disoriented. That’s when we need to remind ourselves of this significant but.
What do you think ‘power to become the children of God’ means in practice for you today?
Respond to Jesus
Whenever I find myself in a not very good place, Lord, please remind me to remember this but and the profound truth it reveals. I have been given power to become, bit by bit, your child. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world as a child of God.
 Lesslie Newbigin, The Light Has Come. 1982, p. 7.
Reflection on Scripture has been a constant in my life ever since I can remember. Reflecting on Jesus in the Gospels has become a necessity to get Jesus right. Join me in reading John to see Jesus more clearly this Lent.