Summary: To truly recognize Jesus we need to: Identify who Jesus is; Acknowledge who Jesus is; Approve of who Jesus is; and Give Tribute to Jesus, for who he is.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
The world did not recognize him.
For us as Americans when we use the word recognize, we generally use it in the sense of identification. “I was driving to Costco and this quickly car passed me up. I took a look at who was driving and I recognized the driver was my wife behind the wheel.” We see recognition as being able to identify who a person is.
Over the years I have had a number of folks come up to me and ask me, “Are you Dana Carvey?” Apparently some people see some kind of resemblance between me and Dana Carvey. You may remember, Dana Carvey is an comedian who spent some time on the show ‘Saturday Night Live’ and was famous for his character ‘The Church Lady’ and for his impersonations of George Bush, Gerald Ford and Ross Perot. Usually, people see me as Dana Carvey at a wedding reception after they have had a little too much to drink.
A person will approach me and say, “Hey! Has anyone ever told you, you look just like Dana Carvey! Are you Dana Carvey?” When I assure them I am not Dana Carvey, but that I am in fact the pastor who just preformed the wedding they were at a short time ago, they always respond, “Oh, OK, I’m sorry…..Hey, Dana, can you do one of your impersonations like the Church Lady or president Bush?” I always take that as my signal to say good bye and leave the wedding reception.
They think they recognize the identity of Dana Carvey, but alas, they never consider the questions, “Why would Dana Carvey be at a wedding reception in Anchorage Alaska?” or, “Why in the world would Dana Carvey preform a wedding in Anchorage Alaska?”
Certainly, part of recognition is to identify, but identification is only one quarter of what full recognition is. Here in our Scripture this morning, when verse 10 tells us that the world did not recognize Jesus, our Scripture is speaking of much more than proper identification. You see, being able to identify who Jesus is, is only part of the picture. If we are only able to identify who Jesus is, we are only one quarter correct, we are only one quarter the way to where we need to be.
If I say, “I know who Jesus is, Jesus is the Son of God.” We are expressing only identification and identification expresses understanding of the facts, but it does not express any kind of belief. Identity is a start. We have to be able to identify who Jesus is, if we are going to be able to be a follower of Jesus Christ, if we can’t identify who Jesus is, how can we follow him?
Yet, again, identity is only a start.
I can correctly identify who Jesus is, but still have no faith. I can correctly identify who Jesus is but still have no understanding beyond the facts. I can correctly identify who Jesus is and fool myself into thinking I have faith, when I only have a cognitive ability to analyze the facts correctly.
What is true recognition of Jesus Christ? To truly recognize Jesus we need to be able to do the following: Identify who Jesus is; Acknowledge who Jesus is; Approve of who Jesus is; and Give Tribute to Jesus, for who he is.
Identify, Acknowledge, Approve, Give Tribute.
For you and I to recognize Jesus we need to be able to do these four things: Identify, Acknowledge, Approve, Give Tribute. Without doing these four things, we are not truly recognizing who Jesus is.
Take a look at your bibles. See there in verse 10 of John chapter one, John uses the word ‘world’ three times in this verse. Now, the first two times John uses the word ‘world’ John means the physical world, he means the planet earth, terra firma, the third rock from the sun. But, the third time John uses the word ‘world’ we see in the original Greek that John means the people who came in contact with Jesus.
So John is not speaking of some abstract encounter, some general societal attribute or some general encyclopedic knowledge, no, John is speaking of an intimate encounter with Jesus. John tells us that these are people came into contact with Jesus and somehow, they did not recognize who Jesus is.
John is saying that we, that is you and I, we can have an encounter with Jesus, and not recognize who he is. Remember, this recognition is more than identity, it is an intimate personal encounter of full recognition.
We see in verse 10, that the equivalent of not recognizing Jesus is rejection. Now remember, full recognition means we have to Identify, Acknowledge, Approve, and Give Tribute to Jesus. Anything less than that is rejection. In other words, partial recognition of Jesus Christ is still rejection of Jesus Christ. Only full recognition of Jesus, is acceptance of Jesus.