John 1:11-15
John 1:11 (KJB)
He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
(Num 24:17 KJV) I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. About 1400 years before the Lord Jesus Christ came on the scene, Balaam had prophesied His coming in Numbers 24:17. The Lord Jesus Christ came through the family line of Judah which meant He came through the nation of Israel. Here the Scripture states that He came unto His own, in fact, He was from His own. They did not receive Him as the Messiah because they did not believe He was Him. They were looking for a Messiah like a Joshua who would help throw off the yoke of Rome and free the land of Israel. Secondly, they did not recognize Him because the leaders were not students of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were commentary based, living according to such commentaries as the Babylonian Talmud which was their primary religious books. There were others such as the Jerusalem Talmud but the Babylonian Talmud, which was written while they were captives in Babylon, was their basic law. They were too busy adding laws and works which God never commanded under the law and they turned it into traditions which caused them to be blind to who Jesus was. This is why, even today, if a person studies commentaries or books about the Bible, instead of studying the Bible, they will not come to spiritual truth. Commentaries are biased based upon denominational affiliation of the author and this must be taken into account if one uses a commentary.
John 1:12 (KJB)
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Received - Take hold of, grasp, or obtain
Power - Authority
Those of Israel did not receive Him because they did not know Him. Now here John turns to a different aspect of receiving Him, In the previous verse, it was speaking of receiving Him as the Messiah on a national level but here John is now making the receiving of the Lord Jesus Christ a personal thing and not something which is done nationally. He now turns to the real way a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ and that is for salvation. When a person receives the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they are given the authority or the right, to claim that they are a child of God. It is one of the cardinal tenets of salvation.
Now I have heard this verse used by many who believe in free will, that is, they believe that all you have to do is believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Now there is a problem with espousing such a belief. First of all, believing is a work which means that a person is doing a work to initiate their salvation and this is not taught in the Scriptures. Secondly, a person is spiritually dead so it will be impossible for a spiritually dead person to activate some type of belief. (Eph 2:5 KJV) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) The dead can do only one thing and that is remain dead unless they are resurrected.
There is only one way a person can receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior and that is a qualified response. First of all, a person becomes saved through grace and they receive it without asking for it. Secondly, that person is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and are given faith as a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22 KJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Now that they have faith, they may believe because they are now spiritually alive. Faith is the basis of belief and only the saved person can believe since they are grounded in faith. The spiritually dead do not have faith since they are not indwelled by the Holy Spirit. This is why many who claim to be saved are not saved because their faith is sourced only in words and not in the Holy Spirit.
John 1:13 (KJB)
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
This verse continues the thread from verse 12. Here is a clear statement that a person is not saved by any act of the flesh, which would be any type of work such as those under the law. Many even believe that a person can exercise their will to be saved, that is, a free will to be either accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ. The unbeliever already rejects the Lord Jesus Christ because of them being spiritually dead. They are in the same boat as the Pharisees, they did not receive Him because they did not recognize Him owing to spiritual deadness. The will of man is only limited to what he can do in the flesh and even that is severely limited. Have you ever seen anyone cure a cold by using their will? The will of man cannot cure a cold never mind will themselves into Heaven. However, this verse ends up stating that those who are born again, or saved, are saved by the will of God. It is God’s will who initiates salvation in the life of a believer. If God wills a person to be saved, then it will happen according to His timetable. I became saved at 27 years old. I wasn’t cognizant of being born again until God saved me. Salvation, then, is according to God’s will and no matter how many words a person says, they cannot save themselves. We only respond to what God initiates.
John 1:14 (KJB)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Dwelt - Lived or tabernacled
Begotten - Unique as in relationship
Full - Complete or lacking in nothing
In verse 1-3, we read about the Word who was in Heaven and was creator but here in verse 14, we read about the Word becoming flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ had left the glories of Heaven and came to earth and had dwelled or tabernacled among the Jews for about 33 years. It is interesting that the Greek word for “dwelt” points to the tabernacle. The Tabernacle was a foreshadow of the Lord Jesus Christ and just like the tabernacle was in the midst of the people, the Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of His people. He came through the virgin birth and was born and grew up in Israel. At the appointed time, He started His ministry by the Jordan river when He was baptized by John the Baptist. Then as His ministry progressed, they beheld His glory. John was an eyewitness to the glory of Christ. His glory was shown in the miracles He did such as raising three people from the dead, Lazarus being His most famous resurrection. He showed by these miracles how above all the other people He was including the prophets of old, even Elijah who called down fire.
This glory was in accord with who He was, that is, being the unique Son of God who was God and had every trait of being God. These were miracles to us but to Jesus it would not have been anything great, after all, He spoke this world and universe into existence. There is not one thing that He is incapable of doing. The glory that He exuded was suited properly for this earth because if He came with the glory He had in Heaven, then the earth would have been consumed and everyone in it. This was part of the emptying of Himself which He did to come to earth and it was for our protection. The last part of this verse states He was filled with grace and truth. When Christ came to earth, He was filled with Grace, that is, He came for the purpose of bringing the true Gospel which was the light shining in the darkness. He brought grace for salvation, something of which the law could not provide for Christ was grace incarnate. Then He brought truth, something of which the people of Israel had lost because the law of God was hidden under so many man made rules, regulations, and commentaries. It was in the Hebrew Scriptures where they would have recognized His first coming. During the course of His ministry, Jesus had referred back to the Hebrew Scriptures many times in contradiction of their commentary based laws and traditions. He was trying to get them back to reading the Scriptures where they would testify of Him. He brought the truth of who He was and what His mission was. Truth was a fleeting object when Christ came on the scene.
John 1:15 (KJB)
John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
Preferred - Ahead of or in front of
Before - First, previous, more important than
Before (2) - First
John reiterates a truth from verse 6 that John was sent ahead of the Lord Jesus Christ so that he would bear witness of Him. John rightly witnessed about Christ stating that He was preferred or in front of the office of prophet, that is, Jesus was higher than the one who was introducing Him. John then states that Jesus was more important than him. This was because John knew the divine office of Jesus and who He really was. John’s ministry was to announce Jesus but Jesus came to bring salvation by His own sacrifice which was a much higher calling. Then John states that Jesus was first or before Him and that is because of the eternal nature of the Lord. John knew that deity was standing before him in the Jordan river and that is why he stated that Jesus should be baptizing him. (Mat 3:14 KJV) But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? Jesus was before him because he knew that Jesus was eternal.