January 31, 2016

Children of God

John 1:10-13

To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

—  John 1:12

Homer, the ancient Greek poet, tells the story of Odysseus, conqueror of Troy. After twenty years of war, shipwreck, and wandering, Odysseus returned to his home in Ithaca only to find that a host of rude, unworthy men were making themselves at home on his own property, trying to pressure his wife to marry one of them. The hero came into his own hall disguised as a ragged beggar to check things out, but he was received with blows and insults by the suitors. Later he returned, not as a beggar, but with a bow and a quiver full of arrows.

Odysseus’s story is similar to Jesus’ story: Jesus “was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” There was no guest room available in Bethlehem, so the Lord of glory was born in a stable. The young teacher from Nazareth tested the hearts of many as he healed the sick, raised the dead, and preached the kingdom of God. Society’s respected leaders connived to kill Jesus, but many who were despised and lowly loved and believed in him. He still tests people’s hearts today.

“To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

“Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2). Crack open my stony heart to receive Christ, that I may have the privilege of becoming your child. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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