He was in the world - From its very commencement - he governed the universe - regulated his Church - spake by his prophets - and often, as the angel or messenger of Jehovah, appeared to them, and to the patriarchs.
The world knew him not - Αυτον ουκ εγνω - Did not acknowledge him; for the Jewish rulers knew well enough that he was a teacher come from God; but they did not choose to acknowledge him as such. Men love the world, and this love hinders them from knowing him who made it, though he made it only to make himself known. Christ, by whom all things were made, John 1:3, and by whom all things are continually supported, Colossians 1:16, Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3, has way every where, is continually manifesting himself by his providence and by his grace, and yet the foolish heart of man regardeth it not! See the reason, John 3:19; (note).
He was in the world - This refers, probably, not to his pre-existence, but to the fact that he became incarnate; that he dwelt among human beings.
And the world was made by him - This is a repetition of what is said in John 1:3. Not only “men,” but all material things, were made by him. These facts are mentioned here to make what is said immediately after more striking, to wit, that men did not receive him. The proofs which he furnished that they ought to receive him were:
1.Those given while he was “in the world” - the miracles that he performed and his instructions; and,
2.The fact that the “world was made by him.” It was remarkable that the world did not know or approve its own Maker.
The world knew him not - The word “knew” is sometimes used in the sense of “approving” or “loving,” Psalm 1:6; Matthew 7:23. In this sense it may be used here. The world did not love or approve him, but rejected him and put him to death. Or it may mean that they did not understand or know that he was the Messiah; for had the Jews known and believed that he was the Messiah, they would not have put him to death, 1 Corinthians 2:8; “Had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Yet they might have known it, and therefore they were not the less to blame.
Christ did not make believe take human nature; He did verily take it. He did in reality possess human nature. “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same” (Hebrews 2:14). He was the son of Mary; He was of the seed of David according to human descent. He is declared to be a man, even the Man Christ Jesus. “This man,” writes Paul, “was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house” (Hebrews 3:3). 1SM 247.1
But while God's Word speaks of the humanity of Christ when upon this earth, it also speaks decidedly regarding His pre-existence. The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with His Father. From everlasting He was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted Him, were to be blessed. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God. 1SM 247.2Read in context »
In the beginning, God was revealed in all the works of creation. It was Christ that spread the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth. It was His hand that hung the worlds in space, and fashioned the flowers of the field. “His strength setteth fast the mountains.” “The sea is His, and He made it.” Psalm 65:6; 95:5. It was He that filled the earth with beauty, and the air with song. And upon all things in earth, and air, and sky, He wrote the message of the Father's love. DA 20.1
Now sin has marred God's perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud. DA 20.2
The angels of glory find their joy in giving,—giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know. DA 21.1Read in context »
That Christ, during His childhood, should grow in wisdom, and in favor with God and man, was not a matter of astonishment; for it was according to the laws of His divine appointment that His talents should develop, and His faculties strengthen by exercise. He sought neither the schools of the prophets nor the learning received from the rabbinical teachers; He needed not the education gained in these schools; for God was His instructor. When in the presence of the teachers and rulers, His questions were instructive lessons, and He astonished the great men with His wisdom and deep penetration. His answers to their queries opened up fields of thought on subjects in reference to the mission of Christ, which had never before entered their minds. FE 400.1
The stores of wisdom and the scientific knowledge Christ displayed in the presence of the wise men, were a subject of surprise to His parents and brothers; for they knew He had never received from the great teachers instruction in human science. His brothers were annoyed at His questions and answers; for they could discern that He was an instructor to the learned teachers. They could not comprehend Him; for they knew not that He had access to the tree of life, a source of knowledge of which they knew nothing. He ever possessed a peculiar dignity and individuality distinct from earthly pride or assumption; for He did not strive after greatness. FE 400.2
After Christ had condescended to leave His high command, step down from an infinite height and assume humanity, He could have taken upon Him any condition of humanity He might choose. But greatness and rank were nothing to Him, and He selected the lowest and most humble walk of life. The place of His birth was Bethlehem, and on one side His parentage was poor, but God, the Owner of the world, was His Father. No trace of luxury, ease, selfish gratification, or indulgence was brought into His life, which was a continual round of self-denial and self-sacrifice. In accordance with His humble birth, He had apparently no greatness or riches, in order that the humblest believer need not say that Christ never knew the stress of pinching poverty. Had He possessed the semblance of outward show, of riches, of grandeur, the poorest class of humanity would have shunned His society; therefore He chose the lowly condition of the far greater number of the people. The truth of heavenly origin was to be His theme: He was to sow the earth with truth; and He came in such a way as to be accessible to all, that the truth alone might make an impression upon human hearts. FE 401.1Read in context »
Said the Saviour: “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” And God declared by the prophet: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” 5T 737.1Read in context »