He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew Him not.
Jesus was here and most of us missed Him. That’s not surprising, since most of us miss Him still.
He made the world, but the world was changed by men and so the world did not recognize the Creator when He came.
There are quite a few reasons for this blindness. We are annoyed with prophets, wise men, and people who point out our errors (even if gently). We often kill them: tyranny hates correction. Socrates to Martin Luther King the words of the prophets are often written in their own blood.
Just because God speaks to us does not mean we (all) would wish to listen. I do not always wish to listen since God insists on being God and being Good, Truth, and Beauty. If we wish to putter around with our vices, half-truths, and personal preferences, then we reject God. When this turns out badly, God affirms our choice, then we blame God for “punishing” us for letting us have what we freely chose.
We make errors, intellectual and emotional. Doing the best we can, broken as we are, all of us can misunderstand people, arguments, and evidence. Culture can make this harder. Jesus has been badly served by those of us who claim to love Him. Civilizations composed of Christians have betrayed His teachings and this can make knowing him harder. The world system erects false-Jesus and bids us worship.
Many reject a false-Jesus and never truly reject Jesus. There is hope here for us all. The world, at the level of being, groans under the yoke of our false world-system. The world-system can never know Jesus, but nature does. The Heavens, where we cannot go, declare His glory and rejoice at His birth.
Caesar does not even know God is born in Bethlehem. Tyrannical pagan Rome does not know Jesus.
God is good, just, and loving. Of course, nobody comes to Paradise without Jesus and His good work, but He is loving and so waits our consent. There is tension here: we must consent, but sometimes we are ignorant, mistaken, or confused. There is hope though, because Jesus persists, gently, now and at the hour of our death. There is, one can assume, clarity as we slip from death to life. A good God speaks clearly and so we choose. CS Lewis pictures this possibility in his novel That Hideous Strength. This much we know: a good God will damn no man for an honest error.We all must admit that even this is not so easy: our motives are mixed. Sometimes we want to misunderstand, we hide our desires behind an intellectual facade. God help me, I at least have done this. The good news is that Saint John does not just point out many of us missed God when he came, but that truth came with grace.
God knows we need grace, I need grace, and joyfully grace is given. There is, we can trust, grace for our errors.
The greatest hope is that the world missed Him. He made the world: nature is good. Men made a world system that breaks nature and breaks us. We need not be part of that world order. We can opt out. If the system of this age, this broken age, missed Jesus, then we do not and should not participate. This is great glorious goodness . . .
Christ is Born!
A Christmas series on John 1: 1-14 (Links will not be active until the piece is published. All active by January 5, 2019).