Come & See: The True Light
Updated: Mar 1
Come and see who Jesus is. Let us reason together. Lay aside all opinions you may have. This is not an argument. This is an invitation to meet the biblical Jesus. Let us open the Bible and discover what God has said regarding his beloved Son. Our text is found in the gospel of John. As it is written,
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:6-13 ESV).
Before we dive into the depths of our text, I want to draw our attention to a phrase that is found at end of our text. This is where we discover the reality of the gospel message, the universal truth of sinners needing to be born again.
Just as it would be foolish to believe humans had the power to talk to our birth parents before we were born and tell them we wanted to be born a male or female, in such and such town, or in such and such time. Likewise, it would be foolish to suggest humans have the power to cause themselves to be born again. That is one point the Apostle John is making in our text. It is entirely the work of God for people to be born again. As Jesus reveals in just a few short chapters from now, if anyone is to see the Kingdom of God, they must be born again (John 3:3). This is not of the will of man, but by the will of God alone.
This universal truth distinguishes biblical Christianity from all other forms of deceptive false teachings and counterfeit gospels. No one has the power to ascend into heaven, into the throne room of God, and demand being born anew. No one has the power work hard enough or to do enough good deeds in order to be born again. For a person to be born again, it is entirely the work of God. This is a gift of grace. Not by the will of man, but by the will of God alone means that no humans has even the slightest possibility of contributing a person’s rebirth. This essential truth regarding grace and rebirth is vital for us to know and understand.
Let us now turn our attention to the beginning of our text and discover how the Apostle John arrived at the necessity of being born again. Verse 6 begins by introducing us to John the Baptist. John the Baptist is described as being sent from God. God sends John to be a witness. This is an important identity marker for John because John is often referred to as, “John the Baptist.” John did baptize people by water including the Lord Jesus himself, but that is not how he is being described here. In the text, we are introduced to John as a man sent from God to be a witness for the true light.
The text also wants us to know with absolute clarity that John is not the true light. John is not the light, someone else is the light. Jesus is the true light that came into the world. Then something extraordinary is revealed in verse 10 that highlights just how dark the world had become. This point is important to grasp in order to recognize the significance of Jesus, the true light, coming into the world. As it is written,
“He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him” (John 1:10).
I cannot emphasize enough how important this truth is as it relates to understanding Jesus coming into the world.
The world was made through Jesus, and yet, the world did not know Jesus.
In an effort to understand the significance of this truth, I would like to introduce a similar scenario on a much smaller scale. Imagine for a moment that you are the owner of a log home. Imagine that you were the one built this log home. You cut down the trees and chopped the wood. You assembled your home on a certain parcel of land. Once your labor were complete, you brought your family into this log home to live. Your spouse and children all live in the cabin you built. Now, let’s imagine you went away from your home and your family on a long work assignment.
After the work assignment was finished, you anxiously return home. Consider form a moment how odd it would be for you to return home and discover that your family does not know you? You walk into the door, excited to be home, and discover no one knows who you are. This is your log cabin. This is your family. Yet, no one recognizes you.
That’s what the Apostle John is telling us regarding the nature of the relationship between God and his creation. God came to the earth, to dwell amongst his creation and yet, God’s creation did not know him. Jesus came into the world in which he created and the world did not recognize him. This describes the nature of reality for all for humans. We do not recognize our Creator.
You might be wondering how is this possible. How is it that God’s creation does not recognize its maker? The answer reveals just how depraved the world has become. Sin and the effects of sin has caused God’s very own creation not to recognize its creator. Sin is the reason why humans did not know God.
In the book of beginnings, the book of Genesis, we are told that all humans have been created in the image of God. All humans have created and formed by God. As it is written,
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27).
All humans possess immeasurable value because they have been created by divine reason. Yet, all humans are alienated from their Creator because of sin. All humans are in such a dark and dreadful state that we do not recognize our own maker. The effects of sin are devastating. Which is one reason why all humans are in desperate need to be reborn.
The answer to our depravity comes to us in the person of Christ Jesus. The true light, which gives light to all men. The good news of the gospel is that God does not leave us in our dreadful state of alienation but comes to us in order to rescue us from the effects of sin.
John was sent by God to bear witness to the true light of the world.
To be a witness means you are standing upon such conviction that no amount of hardship or persecution will ever persuade you to change your story. For a witness, there is no room for indifference or neutrality regarding truth.
John the witness was called not to be indifferent or neutral to this truth. John knew the truth, believed the truth, spoke the truth, and lived the truth. John did so regardless of the cost or consequence because of his faith.
Jesus came into the world as the true light, but not all received the message. As it is written,
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).
These verses reveal two types of people; those who believe the truth and those who reject the truth.
These verses reveal the depravity of man and the essence of salvation. Sinners must be born again by the will of God. These verses reveal how glorious the gospel message is. God gives the right to become children of God.
At the heart of the gospel message lies these truths. Jesus came into the world in which he created and the world did not recognize him. The reason for this is alienation is sin. Sin has separated man from God. Sinners need to be born again. Just as humans take no part in their physical birth, humans take no part in their spiritual rebirth. As it is written,
“To those who receive the truth, God gives the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).