Scripture Reading — John 1:10-18
To all who ... believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12 —
John's gospel tells us that to receive Jesus is to believe in his name. To believe in Jesus' name is to acknowledge that Jesus is the Word become flesh. Others may pass him by, think him a stranger, or, worse, call him an impostor and blasphemer--but believers see his glory. John wants us to look on the face of Jesus until the conviction becomes rooted in our hearts that we are looking into the human face of the living God. Perhaps this face of God comes most into focus when it wears the crown of thorns. As Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, "It is said of God that no one can behold his face and live. I always thought this meant that no one can see his splendor and live. A friend said perhaps it meant that no one could see his sorrow and live. Or perhaps his sorrow is his splendor." Believing is more than seeing. It also involves following and even carrying on a sort of love affair. Believing is a verb, and in our Scripture reading it is followed by the preposition "in," suggesting that it unites us to the one in whom we believe. It is through this union that we are ushered into the family of God. Though our Christmas decorations may soon be coming down, we'll go back to our everyday living a different way because of what we have seen and believed.
Lord Jesus, may we not be guilty of passing you by, or be so distracted by the lights of the world that we miss you. To see you is to love you. We long to see you. Amen.