He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’” 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
“I cannot understand how anyone with any sense of judgment can discard the atonement and live without terror” (PT Forsyth, The Justification of God, 221).
I think most people feel strange about Jesus or get uneasy when His Name is mentioned. John says as much, he came to that which was his own and his own did not receive him. Also, he was in the world, but the world did not recognize him. Isaiah said as much, “Just there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…” Folks near and far continue to reject him for no other reason than they think he is different. We have a great deal of difficulty understanding those who are in no way like us. It is easy to reject them and turn them away.
Maybe one of the reasons people reject Jesus is because he came with his own agenda and not to serve ours. And since he did not come on our terms or to entrust himself to us or rise up to meet our constant demands, we reject him. Jesus is supposed to do what we want him to do and when he doesn’t we have very little use for him. ‘Usefulness’ is such a dirty word and so much is rejected out of hand because it is simply not useful. Jesus, for many, falls into that category. And for some pathetically unreasonable reason, Jesus is not, was not, deterred from his mission: He still makes it possible for people to become children of God.
To make this possible he came down and lived among us. He ‘pitched his tent among us.’ The Message has it this way, “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” I’m surprised at how lightly people consider this anymore. It was no small thing for God to become flesh. To become flesh implies at least that he was not flesh to begin with. He put it on like a garment. Later in the Gospel we will learn that it was not enough for Jesus to clothe himself with us, but that we must clothe ourselves with him, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” And, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Romans 13:14 & Galatians 3:36-27 NIV). He became flesh; we must become spirit.
Jesus did one other thing too, or, I should say, there was one other thing on His agenda that probably did not sit well with those he came to. John testified, “He has surpassed me because He was before me.” Well who wants that? Who wants to admit that this ruffian, this vagabond, this one with His own agenda and not ours, must become greater? What human being wants to confess that anyone must become greater than us? John testified, “I am not even worthy to untie his sandal,” and “he must become greater and I must become lesser.” Well who likes that idea? It is the glory of Christ that must fill the earth, not the glory of man. (In John 6 we shall see that Jesus came to do the will of the Father and no one else. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me”, 6:38 (see also 39-40).)
Finally, there’s one last thing. He made God known to us. The problem was that, as John’s Gospel bears out, the people Jesus came to did not like the ‘version’ of God he showed them. He showed us a God who eats with sinners, who forgives adulterers, who washes feet, who heals the blind, and talks with women. He showed us a God who is long on mercy and short on judgment—but woe to those upon whom that judgment falls and remains! Jesus showed us a God who is more afraid of not helping someone in need than of breaking the Sabbath. He showed us a God who so loves the world that there is nothing he won’t give up to see that world have the opportunity for salvation. Jesus showed us a God who if he ‘spared not his own Son, will spare no historic convulsion needful for His Kingdom’ (Forsyth, The Justification of God, 194).
I think this is what bugs people the most: there is nothing God will not do in order to save the Lost. Jesus showed that side of God. Where people thought God was all about law and justice (and He is!), He is not at all devoid of mercy and grace—in fact, He overflows it. Most people think that this side of God is far too lenient with the guilty and far too restrictive with the not-guilty. The difference is which side you view it from: the one who receives mercy or the one who does not. It makes a world of difference.
I hope your 2nd Day of 90 with Jesus is Blessed!