People sometimes say they receive Jesus, but what does that mean and how do we being to do so? I want to help us understand that listening to the Gospel each week in church is an important step to faith and receiving Jesus.
In the early church, before the books of the New Testament became official as one work, some churches did not have all the Gospels. And so a controversy arose as to whether or not Jesus was God or a created being. It is known as Arianism and a form of it is still believed today by some groups, most notably the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Athanasius of Alexandria in Egypt used John 1:1-18 to counter this wrong idea. Not having all the New Testament meant parts of the puzzle were omitted. It is simple enough to see in the very first verse of John that the word (Logos in Greek) was God. It is also simple enough to see that through the Word (Jesus) all things were made. Without him nothing was made. He was not created, but created all things.
John (1:12) wrote that some receive the Word of God, Jesus. How do we receive a word? Is it not first by listening? Faith comes from hearing the word (Romans 10:14-17). Even when reading the Bible for personal reasons, an ancient practice was to read aloud, because then it is also heard. Public reading of the Bible in the congregation, making it clear and giving the meaning is also an ancient practice (Nehemiah 8:7-9). When preachers avoid the Bible, especially the words of Jesus, the sheep are not listening to “the Word.” Why do we say we believe in Jesus if we don’t listen to him? Why do we go to a church where Jesus may be quoted in the Gospel text for the day every Sunday, then ignore him in our politics, business practices and marriages?
We receive Jesus first by listening to what he has to say. Let us hear the word of God on a regular basis by making sure that we are at church services. Then our faith will grow.