John continues to introduce us to Jesus, the Light of the world. He is also simultaneously introducing us to John the Baptist’s witness of Jesus’ purpose. I’m going to continue in my previous pattern of breaking the two pieces apart. I also want to back up one verse and re-examine verse 9 with today’s story in mind.
“Get ready because something spectacular is about to happen! THE Creator of the universe, the One whose heart longs for a relationship with each one of you, is about to step out from behind that curtain.” The curtain opens and we see an ordinary looking Man standing there. He isn’t dressed as a king. He has nothing outwardly special to distinguish Him from any other man on earth.
“Where? Where is He? That can’t be Him. No. I refuse to believe it. There must be some mistake. IMPOSTER! What have You done with our king?!” This is what Jesus heard when He entered our world. His own people, the ones He and the Father had been grooming to recognize His coming, refused to accept Him for who He really was. They didn’t like “the packaging.” They also didn’t like the content within.
While thinking about these verses I got a picture of a Christmas gift exchange. The table is loaded with an assortment of gifts. Some are wrapped in extravagant paper and topped with beautiful bows and ribbon. Some have simpler wrapping but are still colorful and bright. Some packages are HUGE while others are quite small. Among these packages sits one plain brown paper wrapped package. It’s not the smallest or biggest gift, just somewhere in between. Each person in the room is offered their choice of all of these packages.
Many people head to the HUGE gifts and the brightly wrapped packages. Some choose the simpler but colorful packages. The single plain brown package is chosen by only a few people. Everyone returns to their seats to unwrap their gifts.
Oohs and ahs are heard as the recipients begin opening their gifts and showing everyone else what they received. Some are pleased with what they find inside, while others are disappointed as they compare what they received to what others have. Finally the holder of the plain brown package unwraps their gift. Inside is a small gold ring. It is very simple but is the perfect size for the recipient’s finger. Many of the other attendees don’t even bother to watch as the plain paper box is opened. Many others dismiss what is shown as “not very valuable.” But the recipient quietly reads the inscription written inside the ring and recognizes how amazing this gift truly is. Written in beautiful script are the words, “For my beloved child” and the recipient’s name. “How did He know I would choose this gift?”
He knew you child because HE drew you to Himself. It wasn’t the wrapping or the trappings but the pull on your heart that prompted you to choose HIS gift. “Not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (verse 13). HE chose you before you even chose Him.
So many people miss this amazing gift because they want the flashy and spectacular things in this world. They usually want those things because they think they deserve nothing but the finest. They also may be seeking these things to raise their own “value” in other people’s eyes. But the plain brown gift is usually sought out by those who believe they deserve nothing better. Often it is the broken and the hurting who find this amazing gift.
This gift has the power to change lives FOREVER. It is more precious than ALL the other gifts combined and will NEVER spoil. It is the gift of relationship with Jesus and God the Father. By first receiving Him you also receive the right to become God’s child and all that goes with that position and title.
Through the Holy Spirit John tells us that this is a “right”, not a “privilege.” A right is something that, once conferred, can never be taken away. A privilege, however, is dependent upon the recipient to maintain all the required rules and regulations to keep the benefits conveyed. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the TRUE Light of the world, God conveys on us the title of child of God. ALL the benefits associated with that title become ours FOREVER. The greatest of all the benefits being having an intimate relationship with Him.
Father God, thank You for drawing me to Yourself. Thank You Jesus for placing in my heart the desire to “open that plain brown package.” Thank You for the AMAZING gift contained within. Looks can be SO deceiving! Nothing this world has can compare with what You have for me. Thank You for bringing me to a place where I recognized my need for what You had to offer. Thank You for the word picture You gave me today. I pray I am able to convey just how special that “plain brown package” is to those who care to look inside too. Thank You that nothing I could ever do will make You rescind Your adoption of me. Thank You for being my Father. Thank You for choosing me as Your child.