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Born of God

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Jesus came into the world, but was often not recognized or received, even by his own people. This begs the question—if Jesus is who Scripture claims him to be, why did so many fail to embrace him? Behind this reality lie complex matters of identity. As John’s gospel explores, aspects of how we perceive ourselves can become barriers that prevent us from seeing Jesus clearly.

When sources like ethnicity, human ambition, or patriarchy become the primary lenses through which we view ourselves and the world, Jesus is filtered into simply affirming or denying those identities. We impose expectations onto him rather than allowing him to transform how we see ourselves. The result is a failure to recognize Jesus when he stands right among us.

  1. People failed to recognize and receive Jesus because their core identities blocked their ability to see him clearly. Their identities were too rooted in their natural descent/ethnicity, the desires of the flesh, and patriarchal systems.
  2. In contrast, those who receive Jesus are given a new identity and birth from God. This includes:
    • A new family identity in the diverse, global family of God.
    • New desires brought through the Holy Spirit, realigning all desires around Jesus.
    • A new father-child relationship with God the Father as the head of the household.
  3. This new birth and identity is a gift of God’s grace, not something we can earn. It requires spiritual receptivity, humility, and surrender like Mary who consented to God’s work in her.

Some did receive and recognize Jesus during his earthly ministry. They underwent a dramatic reorientation of identity as Christ impressed himself upon them. This identity shift leads to revolutionary changes—a new family, new desires, and new perspective with God as our true Father. Such transformation comes not by striving but as gift, much like how Mary conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin. Her story illustrates the posture of receptivity to God’s work that allows our identities to be radically reordered around Jesus.

As we explore the interfaces between our identities and truly seeing Jesus, we may discover aspects of ourselves that need realignment. By surrendering control instead of clinging to who we believe we are, we can receive the gift of Christ taking the broken pieces of our lives and making them whole. What would it mean to say with Mary this Christmas season, “Let it be to me as you have said”? The invitation awaits.


John 1: 1-11

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