"He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him." — John 1:11
Not until several paragraphs into his gospel account does the apostle John name who he is writing about: Jesus Christ (John 1:17). But in his earlier sentences John does tell us a lot about Jesus.
Jesus was present in the beginning, from before there was time. He was not only in on every part of the creation of the universe, but he was also involved in ways beyond our imagining. Everything that came to be—even light, even life itself—owes its existence to him. He was and is God.
Then this same beyond-our-imagination being came into the world as a part of his own creation. He came within the limitations of time and space and was born a flesh-and-blood human being. He came especially as a member of a struggling and politically oppressed nation—a people that the Father had chosen and had already guided for about two thousand years: Israel.
And what happened? When Jesus came into the world he had created, that world did not recognize him. Even his own people refused to receive him.
In the Christian season of Lent that begins today, we remember Jesus' suffering. During the first part of this month we will look not so much at the physical side of this suffering but at something even more painful: how Jesus was rejected, despised, and betrayed—by "his own."