John 1:10-13 | Jesus is Savior

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


John 1:10-13
I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the short story of Rip Van Winkle. Essentially it is a story of man who hated work, but was truly a great neighbor. He was always ready to lend a helping hand and was rather liked by everyone in the town. They all knew him and they all liked him. But despite this commendable quality, he did not manage his farm and was not committing himself to profitable work. He was lazy and would spend his time fishing and gossiping with other men in the city.
One day, he goes with his dog wolf into the mountains and meets a stranger there. He helps the stranger carry a keg up the mountain to a gathering and makes company with them. He eventually falls asleep on the mountain and wakes up with a foot long beard, a rusted rifle, and a really sore back. He had fallen asleep for 20 years.
When he went back into town, and no one in town recognizes him. When he goes home, it is falling apart and his own dog does not recognize him. Nobody really believed he was who he was or his story until an old man, the oldest one of the town recognizes and confirms his identity. He goes on to live with his daughter and continues on his lazy ways.
It is rather a entertaining short story and I can imagine it would be incredibly frustrating to wake up in a different time. To wake up and have no one know you, that would frustrating, scary, and depressing. Everything you knew has changed or is replaced, and everyone who knew you either has left or grown older and are skeptical of your identity.
Although this is a fictitious story, we read of a similar thing happening.
Christ comes and he came to his own. To his own people and they did not receive him. He came into the very world that he had created and, as John describes it, “yet the world did not recognize Him.”
How unfortunate that is. Because there in their midst was God incarnate. God Himself who had taken on the flesh was among them. The one who had redeemed His own many times as recorded in the Old Testament or in those days, had been told to them by their ancestors. And they did not recognize Him.
That should not be lost on us. We can rejoice in verses 12 and 13, but we must also understand that context of it. When His own people did not receive Him, others were given the right, not just the privilege, but the right to be children of God.


We have a bit of bad news first, then we see some good news. And you would think that the people would receive Jesus though. When you read verses 6-9, what you get is an expectancy. A feeling of anxiety that you are waiting for something good, but it is not there yet. You know one of my best friends just got engaged recently and he kinda told me how nervous he was about popping the question and it was all building up inside him. But it was not for nothing, he was wanting and desiring a good thing. He wanted her to say yes. And when the day finally came and he asked her and she said yes, it was just joy. A beautiful joy for him and for me. I could not be more happy for him, I love him so much.
And here we read of the Israelites and you go through the Old Testament and you have an anxiety building up as well. They are waiting for the Messiah. The Savior. The one who, by the promise of Abraham, would be a blessing to all nations. The one, by the promise of David, would reign forever. The cloud rider in Daniel and the anointed eternal, Immanuel. They are waiting. And John comes into the scene and they think, this man might be him, and he says no (vs 8) “He was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” What good news!
And then he comes! And we read in verse 10 and 11, somber words. He is not recognized. He is not received he is not accepted. And it is ironic isn’t it.
Illustration: You know if you were to go to Joe Myers Mazda just down the road, and imagine you are Joe Myers and you start to inspect things… and they do not recognize you.
And Jesus...He did not come to a world not created by Him, not that any exist. We see that it was created through Him and yet, he goes unrecognized. And he did not come to strangers and say here I am. It says He went to “His own” and they did not receive Him! He was not warmly welcomed or greeted with joy. We get the picture of Peter in Acts 12, led out of prison by the spirit and he goes to His people who are praying for him!

13 He knocked at the door in the gateway, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer. 14 She recognized Peter’s voice, and because of her joy, she did not open the gate but ran in and announced that Peter was standing at the gateway.

15 “You’re crazy!” they told her. But she kept insisting that it was true. Then they said, “It’s his angel!” 16 Peter, however, kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astounded.

They did not believe and you’re thinking what is going on. At least they recognized Peter finally and let him in. How much more should Jesus have been received! Instead, they rejected him, they despised him, they killed him.
The prophet Isaiah (53:3) expressed it poignantly, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
And while the Jews had rejected Him, many received him, and it was to them that he gave them the right to be called children of God!
How do we get it? What do we have to do? Well there are four approaches that John gives in verse 13
You must be born into it.
Is there some sort of special physical birth that can help you? Do some people just have it in their DNA. You know I have always wanted to have 20/20 vision. But i just do not, I have to wear contacts or glasses and without them I cannot see, but there are some who don’t need any glasses. Is that the same thing with salvation? Do we have to be born with that special secret genetic gene? No. It is not by blood or birth.
Will of the flesh
Does having a desire for it work? No, not even that. You can desire a lot of things, but it does not mean you will get it.
John Bunyan in his very last sermon preached on this text. On this point he said
‘It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.’ There is willing and running, and yet to no purpose (Rom 9:16). Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, have not obtained it (v 30). Here, I do not understand, as if the apostle had denied a virtuous course of life to be the way to heaven; but that a man without grace, though he have natural gifts, yet he shall not obtain privilege to go to heaven, and be the son of God. Though a man without grace may have a will to be saved, yet he cannot have that will God’s way. Nature, it cannot know any thing but the things of nature—the things of God knows no man but by the Spirit of God; unless the Spirit of God be in you, it will leave you on this side the gates of heaven.
Will of man or Self-Determination
You must work for it. They say you must obey the laws of God or you must obey the laws and traditions of the church. You have to do something in addition to believing. Or your good must outweigh your bad. That is not good news though. If you know your record, when are you ever going to surmount that debt. And even if you do one day beat it, your very first thought will probably be phew, I did it. And then you will realize it was all out of selfish ambition or that you had claimed that you did it with no help and have pride and then you are back on the negative side of the scale.
That is bondage. You are stuck toiled for nothing. Because in reality, you can never do anything.
Furthermore, it cannot be the will of another man. This is inclusive of that as well. Just because your parents are saved does not automatically make you saved. Just because your pastor is saved does not mean you are saved. It does not even matter if the President or Prime Minister or whatever head of a country is saved, it doesn’t mean that their nation is saved.
So then, if not by blood, desire, or determination, then what?
It is by grace. It is by God. And that is what the Scriptures over and over again affirm. We can do nothing.
And that is the argument that John makes and the whole of Scripture.
Romans 8:1-4
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 9:14-16 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
Romans 11:5-6 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.
Galatians 2:21 Verse Concepts "I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
Galatians 3:17-18 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Acts 15:7-11 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. "And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. "Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? "But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."


Beloved, we are saved by grace…by who? Is it really us? Well we read in the first part that those who receive Him are given the right to be children of God. And then John clarifies, not by blood, or will of flesh, or will of man, but of God.
Randall House Commentary
The Gospel of John B. His Incarnation (1:6–13)

It is not by these natural processes that those who receive Jesus become the children of God, but by a definite supernatural action of God.

New birth is, finally, nothing other than an act of God.

We need a Savior. And we cannot do it ourselves. Thanks be to God, one did come. God Himself. And the world did not recognize him and His own people did not accept him. But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God. What good news.
I had mentioned before that John Bunyan had preached on this text as his last sermon delivered on Aug 19, 1688. He concluded with these words.
Bunyan’s Last Sermon The Application

When we see a king’s son play with a beggar, this is unbecoming; so if you be the king’s children, live like the king’s children; if you be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above, and not on things below; when you come together, talk of what your Father promised you; you should all love your Father’s will, and be content and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. If you are the children of God, live together lovingly; if the world quarrel with you, it is no matter; but it is sad if you quarrel together; if this be amongst you, it is a sign of ill-breeding; it is not according to the rules you have in the Word of God. Dost thou see a soul that has the image of God in him? Love him, love him; say, This man and I must go to heaven one day; serve one another, do good for one another; and if any wrong you, pray to God to right you, and love the brotherhood.

Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn that lesson—Gird up the loins of your mind, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former conversation; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Consider that the holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you to live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face, with comfort, another day.

Jesus is our Savior and we have the right now to be called children of God. Live as children of God.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more