10 He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, 13 who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. — John 1:10-13
Through Jesus We Become Children Of God And Share That With Others
by Evan Kunz
Confession: I have a soft spot for the Lego movies. Maybe it has to do with all those nostalgic memories floating around in my head about building castles as a kid—or maybe it’s just because they’re hilarious.
In the newest Lego movie, the story centers on Batman and his quest to stop the Joker from releasing the greatest villains of all time from the infamous “Phantom Zone” (which he inevitably fails at, because, plot advancement). Over the course of the movie, though, we find out how Bruce Wayne ends up adopting Richard Grayson (Robin). Of course in typical Lego style, things unfold in a humorous fashion: Richard ends up asking a distracted Bruce Wayne if he wants to take him in, and Bruce unwittingly agrees to it.
Richard is understandably ecstatic. I mean, not only is his dad a billionaire, but he’s also Batman. Every kid’s dream. He spends the rest of the movie in awe of this man, always trying to be close to him, to follow him, to be just like him, to please him—and, of course, telling everyone around that his dad is the Batman. This adoption transforms Richard Grayson from a lonely, helpless orphan into a joy-filled, deeply cherished, and butt-kicking child superhero. Adoption into this family changed everything.
In my own life, I all too often neglect to realize that this is precisely what God in Christ Jesus has accomplished for me. “But to all who did receive Him, He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name.” That’s how John says it at the outset of his Gospel. Not those who had it all together, not those who deserved it, not those who earned it, not those who knew everything they were supposed to know. No, that right comes to those who believe in His name.
See, the trap I fall into is thinking that in this scenario I’m Bruce Wayne. I’m basically a good person. I help other people. I’m successful at what I do. God must be pretty happy with me. That’s why I get to choose Him: because He’s pumped to have me in His life. And before I’m aware of what’s happened, pride creeps into my heart, a sense of unholy comfort keeps me on the sidelines, and the gospel is suddenly all about me and only for me.
But we aren’t Bruce Wayne—we’re Richard Grayson. We’re the ones who needed help. We’re the ones who needed grace. We’re the ones who needed adoption. There’s nothing we could do to entice God into wanting us. There was no price we could offer Him that would buy His grace. John says He gave us the right to be children, provided we believe in Him. It’s a gift given by Jesus, not because we merit it, but because He has compassion on us, poor orphans that we are.
And what ought our reaction be? The same as Richard’s. We should live in awe of this God-Man, always trying to be close to Him, following right behind Him, striving to be just like Him, desiring to please Him in all we do. Most importantly, though, we should spend our lives telling everyone that we’ve been adopted not by a father, but by the Father, and that His love is not diminished nor His house too small that He could not make room for more.
We have been adopted into a family, and it has changed everything. Now our calling as children is to be participate in the Father’s gathering of all people into His family.
- In your own life, who do you most often act like you are: Bruce Wayne or Richard Grayson? Do you find yourself thinking more often about what God ought to do for you, or thinking about what He has already done for you?
- How can reflecting on the kindness offered in God’s adoption of us change the way we view and treat other people?
Evan Kunz is the Student Minister at The Church At West Franklin. He was born and raised nearby in Nolensville, Tennessee, before relocating to Jackson, Tennessee for college. There he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies from Union University, and is now currently working toward earning his Masters of Divinity through the Distance Learning program of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Through his college years, Evan had the opportunity to serve in different short-term capacities at several churches, including West Jackson Baptist Church (Jackson, TN), Brentwood Baptist Church (Brentwood, TN), and The Point Church (Vancouver, CA). He is passionate about creating bridges between the local church and the communities it calls home, and especially reaching Middle and High School students. On his off days, you can catch him running, drinking coffee, finding good food, or playing soccer with refugees from his apartment complex.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.