I still remember the day when I received my acceptance letter to college. I had been waiting anxiously, knowing that it was possible that they might not accept me. But then the letter came, and I was delighted! “You have been accepted,” were the words that were music to my ears.
It is a tough thing to be rejected – to have someone say, “I don’t like you,” or “we won’t let you in.” There is just something in all of us that wants other people to like us – to think well of us.
Guess what? That is true of God, too. John tells us in the opening verses of his Gospel that when Jesus came into the world, He was not accepted. John 1:11-12 says, “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
It must have been disappointing to Christ to come to the world which He had created – to live among His own people and be rejected by them. There is no question about it, He wanted to be recognized for who He was, and He wanted to be received. But He was not.
The word “received” has an interesting variation in this text. In verse 12, “But as many as received Him….” we find the simple Greek word for “receive.” It is elabon, and literally means “to take hold of; to grasp.” In verse 11, however, the word is parelabon, which is the same word with the preposition added to the front. means “alongside of, or near.” So parelabon means “to take along or to take with.” So verse 11 really says that He came unto His own and His own did not take Him in, or alongside them.
Now let’s put all of this together. When Jesus came to Israel, the Jews did not accept Him as one of their own. But anyone (Jews or Gentiles) who grasps who He is, and receives Him as savior and Lord, will be granted the right to become a child of God.
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
So – The important question is, “What is your response to Jesus? Have you grasped who He really is, and received Him into your life?”