He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10-13)

Monday 6 March 2017

Recognising people who have done well is an instinctive and important part of living together; it is what makes life pleasant and reinforces our mutual dependence and relationship. We struggle to teach young children to say ‘thank you’ when they receive something in part because it will help them in life but mostly because we want to teach them to live well – to recognise their dependence on, and the merit of, others.

In a perfect world all those who deserve recognition would receive. Yet we know that is not the case; life doesn’t work like that. St John describes how Jesus came to a world that he had come into being through him yet ‘did not know him’. Even worse, he came to his own people – the people who had been expecting him, looking for him, and owed their existence to his Father – and yet they ‘did not accept him.’ The same is often true for us as Christians. We might give ourselves for others, sacrifice for them, forgive them and receive no recognition in return.

It hurts, of course it does. I can only imagine how Jesus must have felt – the injustice, ingratitude, impoliteness of it! Worse still, he knew that it would be this way before he was even born. If he was coming to receive praise from people or to be famous or recognised or appreciated he would never have left his Father’s side.

And yet still he came to us.

Here’s a lesson for us. We may praised or condemned, be recognised or denied, loved or hated, celebrated or decried. Yet still we should go to those who need, still we show Christ to the world, still we should live lives of grace and truth and purity. Because that’s what Jesus does. Because that’s how Jesus loves.

It is not easy. We will be rejected when we should be accepted. It will happen to us because it happened to Jesus. Yet we go for love’s sake.

Here’s a prayer we could pray:

Father, I’m so grateful that Jesus loved us so much that he came to a world that would reject him. Help me not to worry about whether I will be rejected or accepted but to show love to others in any case. In the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.