This verse is referring to Jesus, and it explains that anyone who receives and believes in him has the right to become a child of God. This means that through faith in Jesus, people can have a new spiritual identity as a child of God, which brings with it the promise of eternal life and a close relationship with God.
In the context of the Gospel of John, this verse comes immediately after a statement about Jesus in verse 11: "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." This refers to the fact that Jesus, as the Son of God, came into the world but was rejected by many of the Jewish people who were waiting for the coming of the Messiah. However, the verse that follows (John 1:12) offers hope to those who do receive and believe in Jesus.
The concept of becoming a child of God is central to the our faith, and it is rooted in the idea of adoption. In ancient Roman culture, adoption was a legal process by which a person could be brought into a family as a full heir and given all the rights and privileges of a natural-born child. Similarly, when someone believes in Jesus, they are adopted into the family of God and become full heirs of the promises and blessings that God has for his children.
The verse also emphasizes that becoming a child of God is not something that is automatic or guaranteed for everyone. Rather, it is something that requires an act of faith and belief in Jesus. This aligns with other passages in the New Testament, such as Ephesians 2:8-9, which state that salvation is a gift of God's grace that is received through faith.
Overall, this is a comforting message that assures us that through faith in Jesus, we have a secure and eternal relationship with God as his beloved children.
John 1:12. As many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name.