- There is no light without Jesus, and that light came into the world in the form of a man.
- The world — which he made himself — did not know him.
- The people — which he made himself — did not generally accept him. In fact, he was killed for being a heretic, more or less.
- But some people did accept him. They are born of God; they are children of God. They have a different status than all the other people who did not accept him.
- I suppose the same is true today. Some accept him but most don’t.
- What does it mean to accept him?
- “believe in his name”; John uses the Greek word pisteuō, which is the verb form of the noun pistis.
- The verb is usually translated as “believe”, as it is in the NRSV here. The noun is usually translated as “faith”.
- It’s very easy to translate the words as they have always been translated. I mean, John is written on an almost elementary level, which is why most first year Greek classes start by reading John. I’m self taught in Greek and I’m pretty rusty, but I can still read John without referring to other books for help. But I think that pisteuō carries more baggage than just a simple “believe and that is that”. That easy believing is what has the church in trouble today. That’s why we have a church full of people who say they believe in Jesus, but they don’t really follow him and they don’t really obey him. Therefore, I submit, they aren’t really children of God.
- We say Jesus is Lord. This chapter of John tells us he is God. To pisteuō in him is not a little thing, done by repeating the sinner’s prayer after a supposed gospel presentation. It means something more than that.
- To pisteuō Jesus means to pledge allegiance to him. It means we are committed to him no matter what happens tomorrow or next week. We are his. (And he is ours — a pretty good benefit for our commitment.) This is a strong, strong, strong meaning. Nothing easy about it.
Get onboard the allegiance train. Think of it as a feudal lord pledging his fealty to the king. Think of it as a solemn vow with great seriousness and ramifications attached to it. Think of it as counting the cost of discipleship. Think of it as truly following Jesus and being under his command.
Let’s help our churches get out of this sorry state we are in. Perhaps more than half of all the supposed Christians in our churches are on dangerous ground. They’ve been told they are safe and they are going to heaven (as if that were some kind of goal of the gospel) and they are resting easy. They need to become disciples of Jesus just like everyone else — by being committed to him, allegiant to him.
Read your Bible!