John 1:11
He came to his own, and his own received him not.
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(11) He came, as distinct from the “was” of the previous verse, passes on to the historic advent; but as that was but the more distinct act of which there had been foreshadowings in every appearance and revelation of God, these Advents of the Old Testament are not excluded.

His own is neuter, and the same word which is used in John 19:27, where it is rendered “his own home.” (Comp. John 16:32, margin, and Acts 21:6.) What then was the “home?” It is distinguished from the “world” of John 1:10, and it cannot but be that the home of Jewish thought was the land, the city, the temple bound up with every Messianic hope. Traces of this abound in the Jewish Scriptures. Comp. especially Malachi 3:1, “The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple.” (See also Luke 2:49, Note.)

His own in the second clause is masculine—the dwellers in His own home, who were His own people, the special objects of His love and care. (See Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 135:4; Isaiah 41:9, and Notes on Ephesians 2:19 and Titus 2:14.) We turn from the coldness of a strange world to the warmth and welcome of a loving home. The world knew Him not, and He came to His own, and they despised Him!

Received him not is stronger than “knew him not” of John 1:10. It is the rejection of those for whom no plea of ignorance can be urged, of those “who see, and therefore their sin remaineth” (John 9:41).

There has been an increasing depth in the tone of sadness which cannot now grow deeper. As the revelation has become clearer, as the moral power and responsibility of acceptance has been stronger, the rejection has passed into wilful refusal. The darkness comprehended not; the world knew not; His own received not.

1:6-14 John the Baptist came to bear witness concerning Jesus. Nothing more fully shows the darkness of men's minds, than that when the Light had appeared, there needed a witness to call attention to it. Christ was the true Light; that great Light which deserves to be called so. By his Spirit and grace he enlightens all that are enlightened to salvation; and those that are not enlightened by him, perish in darkness. Christ was in the world when he took our nature upon him, and dwelt among us. The Son of the Highest was here in this lower world. He was in the world, but not of it. He came to save a lost world, because it was a world of his own making. Yet the world knew him not. When he comes as a Judge, the world shall know him. Many say that they are Christ's own, yet do not receive him, because they will not part with their sins, nor have him to reign over them. All the children of God are born again. This new birth is through the word of God as the means, 1Pe 1:23, and by the Spirit of God as the Author. By his Divine presence Christ always was in the world. But now that the fulness of time was come, he was, after another manner, God manifested in the flesh. But observe the beams of his Divine glory, which darted through this veil of flesh. Men discover their weaknesses to those most familiar with them, but it was not so with Christ; those most intimate with him saw most of his glory. Although he was in the form of a servant, as to outward circumstances, yet, in respect of graces, his form was like the Son of God His Divine glory appeared in the holiness of his doctrine, and in his miracles. He was full of grace, fully acceptable to his Father, therefore qualified to plead for us; and full of truth, fully aware of the things he was to reveal.He came unto his own - His own "land" or "country." It was called his land because it was the place of his birth, and also because it was the chosen land where God delighted to dwell and to manifest his favor. See Isaiah 5:1-7. Over that land the laws of God had been extended, and that land had been regarded as especially his, Psalm 147:19-20.

His own - His own "people." There is a distinction here in the original words which is not preserved in the translation. It may be thus expressed: "He came to his own land, and his own people received him not." They were his people, because God had chosen them to be his above all other nations; had given to them his laws; and had signally protected and favored them, Deuteronomy 7:6; Deuteronomy 14:2.

Received him not - Did not acknowledge him to be the Messiah. They rejected him and put him to death, agreeably to the prophecy, Isaiah 53:3-4. From this we learn,

1. That it is reasonable to expect that those who have been especially favored should welcome the message of God. God had a right to expect, after all that had been done for the Jews, that they would receive the message of eternal life. So he has a right to expect that we should embrace him and be saved.

2. Yet, it is not the abundance of mercies that incline men to seek God. The Jews had been signally favored, but they rejected him. So, many in Christian lands live and die rejecting the Lord Jesus.

3. People are alike in every age. All would reject the Saviour if left to themselves. All people are by nature wicked. There is no more certain and universal proof of this than the universal rejection of the Lord Jesus.

11. his own—"His own" (property or possession), for the word is in the neuter gender. It means His own land, city, temple, Messianic rights and possessions.

and his own—"His own (people)"; for now the word is masculine. It means the Jews, as the "peculiar people." Both they and their land, with all that this included, were "His own," not so much as part of "the world which was made by Him," but as "THE HEIR" of the inheritance (Lu 20:14; see also on Mt 22:1).

received him not—nationally, as God's chosen witnesses.

He came unto his own; Christ came into the world, which being made by him, was in the most proper sense his own; or, to the Israelites, which were as his own house, land, and possession, Psalm 85:1 John 16:32. The Greek word is in the plural number, and used in the places before mentioned, as also Acts 21:6; sometimes signifying men’s proper country, sometimes their proper house. But it is a further question, what coming is here spoken of: though it be generally (or by many at least) interpreted of Christ’s coming by his incarnation, yet that seemeth not to be the sense; partly, because that coming is spoken of, Acts 21:14; and partly, because in that sense the Jews did receive him; nor was it in their power to hinder his manifestation in the flesh. The coming therefore here mentioned seemeth to be intended of his coming by his prophets, John the Baptist, and his own personal preaching of the gospel.

And his own received him not; whom in this way of coming they did not receive, believing neither the testimony given by his prophets, nor by the Baptist, nor by himself, John 5:43. He came unto his own,.... Not all the world, who are his own by right of creation; for these, his own, are opposed to the world, and distinguished from them; and his coming to them designs some particular favour, which is not vouchsafed to all: nor yet are the elect of God intended; though they are Christ's own, in a very special sense; they are his by his own choice, by his Father's gift, by his own purchase, and through the conquest of his grace, and are the objects of his special love; and for their sake he came in the flesh, and to them he comes in a spiritual way, and to them will he appear a second time at the last day unto salvation: but they cannot be meant, because when he comes to them they receive him; whereas these did not, as the next clause affirms: but by his own are meant the whole body of the Jewish nation; so called, because they were chosen by the Lord above all people; had distinguishing favours bestowed upon them, as the adoption, the covenants, the promises, the giving of the law, and the service of God; and had the Shekinah, and the symbol of the divine presence in a remarkable manner among them; and the promise of the Messiah was in a particular manner made to them; and indeed, he was to be born of them, so that they were his kindred, his people, and his own nation: and this his coming to them is to be understood not of his incarnation; though when he came in the flesh, as he came of them, so he came to them, particularly being sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and was rejected by them as the Messiah; yet his incarnation is afterwards spoken of in John 1:14 as a new and distinct thing from this; and to understand it of some coming of his before his incarnation, best suits with the context, and the design of the evangelist. Now Christ, the word, came to the Jews before his incarnation, not only in types, personal and real, and in promises and prophecies, and in the word and ordinances, but in person; as to Moses in the bush, and gave orders to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt: he came and redeemed them himself with a mighty hand, and a outstretched arm; in his love and pity he led them through the Red Sea as on dry ground; and through the wilderness in a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night; and he appeared to them at Mount Sinai, who gave unto them the lively oracles of God:

and his own received him not; they did not believe in him, nor obey his voice; they rebelled against him, and tempted him often, particularly at Massah and Meribah; they provoked trim to anger, and vexed, and grieved his holy Spirit, as they afterwards slighted and despised his Gospel by the prophets. Of this nonreception of the word by the Jews, and their punishment for it, the Targumist on Hosea 9:17 thus speaks:

"my God will remove them far away, because, , "they receive not his word"; and they shall wander among the people.

And so they treated this same "Logos", or word of God, when he was made flesh, and dwelt among them. Somewhat remarkable is the following discourse of some Jews among themselves (e):

"when the word of God comes, who is his messenger, we shall honour him. Says R. Saul, did not the prophets come, and we slew them, and shed their blood? (compare this with Matthew 23:30.) how therefore now, , "shall we receive his word?" or wherefore shall we believe? Says R. Samuel, the Levite, to him, because he will heal them, and deliver them from their destructions; and because of these signs we shall believe him, and honour him.

But they did not,

(e) Ben Arama in Genesis 47.4. apud Galatin. de Arcan. Cathol. Ver. l. 3. c. 5,

He came {r} unto his own, and his own received him not.

(r) The Word showed himself again when he came in the flesh.

John 1:11. More particular statement of the contrast. Observe the gradual ascent to still greater definiteness: ἦν, John 1:9; ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, John 1:10; εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἦλθε. John 1:11.

εἰς τὰ ἴδια] to His own possession, is, with Erasmus, Luther, Beza, Calvin, Bengel, Lampe, and many expositors, also Lücke, Tholuck, Bleek, Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Maier, Frommann, Köstlin, Hilgenfeld, Luthardt, Ewald, Hengstenberg, Godet, and most interpreters, to be explained of the Jewish people as specially belonging to the Messiah (Sir 24:7 ff.), as they are called in Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 7:6, Psalm 135:4, Isaiah 31:9, Jehovah’s possession; from Israel salvation was to spread over all the world (John 4:22; Matthew 8:12; Romans 1:16). This interpretation is required by the onward progress of the discourse, which by the use of ἦλθε excludes any reference to the world. (Corn. a Lapide, Kuinoel, Schott, Reuss, Keim), as was proposed along with this by Chrysostom, Ammonius, Theophylact, Euth. Zig., and conjoined with it by Augustine and many others. “He was in the world;” and now follows His historical advent, “He came to His own possession.” Therefore the sympathy of God’s people, who were His own people, should have led them to reach out the hand to Him.

οἱ ἴδιοι] the Jews. παρέλαβον] they received Him not, i.e. not as Him to whom they peculiarly belonged. Comp. Matthew 1:20; Matthew 24:40-41; Herod, i. 154, vii. 106; Plato, Soph. p. 218 B. Observe that the special guilt of Israel appears still greater (οὐ παρέλαβον, they despised Him) than the general guilt of mankind (οὐκ ἔγνω). Comp. the οὐκ ἠθελήσατε of Matthew 23:37; Romans 10:21. In the negative form of expression (John 1:10-11) we trace a deeply elegiac and mournful strain.John 1:11. εἰς τὰ ἴδια ἧλθεν, “He came to His own”. In the world of men was an inner circle which John calls τὰ ἴδια, His own home. (For the meaning of τὰ ἴδια cf. John 19:27, John 16:32, Acts 21:6, 3Ma 6:27-37, Esther 5:10, Polybius, Hist., ii. 57, 5.) Perhaps in this place “His own property” might give the sense as accurately. Israel is certainly signified; the people and all their institutions existed only for Him. (See Exodus 19:5, Deuteronomy 7:6, “The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people, a peculium, unto Himself”; also Matthew 21:33.)—οἱ ἴδιοι, those of His own home (His intimates, cf. John 13:1), those who belonged to Him, αὐτὸν οὐ παρέλαβον “gave Him no reception”. The word is used of welcoming to a home, as in John 14:3, πάλιν ἔρχομαι καὶ παραλήμψομαι ὑμᾶς πρὸς ἐμαυτόν. Even those whose whole history had been a training to know and receive Him rejected Him. It is not said of “His own” that they did not “know” Him, but that they did not receive Him. And in the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen our Lord represents them as killing the heir not in ignorance but because they knew him.11. unto his own] In the Greek the first ‘own’ is neuter, the second is masculine, and this difference should be preserved: He came unto His own inheritance; and His own people received Him not (see on John 6:37). In the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (Matthew 21:33-41) the vineyard is ‘His own inheritance,’ the husbandmen are ‘His own people,’ the Jews. Or, for ‘His own inheritance’ we might say ‘His own home,’ as in John 19:27, where the Greek is the same. The tragic tone is very strong here as in John 1:5; John 1:10.

received] A stronger word than ‘knew.’ The exact meaning of the Greek word is ‘to accept what is offered.’ Mankind in general did not recognise the Messiah; the Jews, to whom He was specially sent, did not welcome Him. See on John 19:16.

Once more there is a climax;—‘He was’ (John 1:9); ‘He was in the world’ (John 1:10); ‘He came unto His own inheritance’ (John 1:11).John 1:11. Τὰ ἴδια, His own) From the world, the whole, the discourse goes down to the part. Formerly there belonged to Messiah, as peculiarly His own, τὰ ἴδια, whatsoever belonged to Israel—its land, city, and temple: οἱ ἴδιοι, His own people, the Israelites; Matthew 8:12, “The children of the kingdom.” The time, moreover, of His coming into the world and to His own is one and the same, namely after the coming of John; John 1:6-7.Verse 11. - It is not without interest that the ideas contained in these verses did not need a second century to evolve them; they were current in Paul's letters, a hundred years before the date assigned by some to this Gospel. Here the question arises - Has no more direct approach been made to our race than that which is common to every man? Undoubtedly the whole theocratic dispensation would be ignored if this were not the case - and consequently the evangelist continues the recital of the peculiarities and specialties of the approach of the Logos to the human understanding. He came unto his own possession (εἰς τὰ ἴδια). Here all expositors agree to see the special manifestation of the Logos to the house of Israel, which is called in numerous passages of the Old Testament, God's own possession (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 135:4; Isaiah 31:9). And his own (people) received him not (παρέλαβον; cf. κατέλαβεν of ver. 4, and ἔγνω of ver. 10). Here, again, the most astonishing, direct and prominent illustration of such a statement is seen in the historic ministry of the Lord Jesus, in the terrible record of his rejection by his own people, by his own disciples, by the theocratic chiefs, by the assembled Sanhedrin, by the very populace to whom Pilate appealed to save him from murderous fury. But the significance of the prologue is to my mind missed, if the earlier agelong rejection of the ministry, and light of the Logos, nay, the perpetual and awful treatment which he continually receives from "his own possession," be not perceived. There was a Divine and special sense in which the perpetual coming of the Logos to the world was emphasized by his gracious self-manifestations to the people of Israel. The great Name of Jehovah, the Angel of the presence, the manifestations to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Elijah, to Isaiah, and Ezekiel; the Shechinah glories, the whole ministry of grace to the house of Israel, was a perpetual coming to his own peculiar possession; but yet the sum total of their history is a continuous repudiation and lapse. They rejected the Lord, they fell in the wilderness, they were turned unto other gods, they went a-whoring after their own inventions. They knew not that God had healed them. The great things of his Law were accounted strange things to them (compare Stephen's apology for an elaborate exposition of this thought). The same kind of treatment has continually been given by the world, and even by those who have boasted of standing in the special lines of his grace. This suggestion cannot he fully expanded here. Chrysostom in loco calls much attention to the argument of the Epistle to Romans (Romans 2:12; Romans 9:30, 32; Romans 10:3, 12). He came (ἦλθεν)

The narrative now passes from the general to the special action of the Word as the Light. The verb came, in the aorist tense, denotes a definite act - the Incarnation. In John 1:10 the Word is described as in the world invisibly. Now He appears.

Unto His own (εἰς τὰ ἴδια)

Literally, his own things: see on Acts 1:7. The Rev. follows the A.V. Wyc., into his own things. Render his own home, and compare John 16:32; John 19:27; Acts 21:6. The reference is to the land of Israel, which is recognized as God's own in a peculiar sense. See Jeremiah 2:7; Hosea 9:3; Zechariah 2:12; Deuteronomy 7:6. Not a repetition of John 1:10. There is a progress in the narrative. He was in the world at large: then he came unto His own home.

His own (οἱ ἴδια)

The masculine gender, as the preceding was neuter. That signified His own home or possessions, this His own people. Rev., they that were His own.

Received (παρέλαβον)

Most commonly in the New Testament of taking one along with another. See on Matthew 4:5; see on Matthew 17:1; see on Acts 16:33. But also of accepting or acknowledging one to be what he professes to be, and of receiving something transmitted, as 1 Corinthians 11:23; Galatians 1:12, etc. Westcott thinks this latter sense is implied here; Christ having been offered by the teachers of Israel through John. Alford adopts the former sense; "expressing the personal assumption to one's self as a friend or companion." De Wette explains to receive into the house. Godet strains a point by explaining as welcomed. De Wette's explanation seems to agree best with his own home. Here again compare the nice choice of verbs: apprehended (κατέλαβεν) the Light as a principle, and received (παρέλαβον) the Light as a person and the Master of the house.

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