John 1:12 (ESV)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
Homer, the ancient Greek poet, tells the story of Odysseus, conqueror of Troy. After twenty years of war, shipwreck, and wandering, Odysseus returned to his home in Ithaca only to find that a host of rude, unworthy men were making themselves at home on his own property, trying to pressure his wife to marry one of them. The hero came into his own hall disguised as a ragged beggar to check things out, but he was received with blows and insults by the suitors. Later he returned, not as a beggar, but with a bow and a quiver full of arrows.
Odysseus’s story is similar to Jesus’ story: Jesus “was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” There was no guest room available in Bethlehem, so the Lord of glory was born in a stable. The young teacher from Nazareth tested the hearts of many as he healed the sick, raised the dead, and preached the kingdom of God. Society’s respected leaders connived to kill Jesus, but many who were despised and lowly loved and believed in him. He still tests people’s hearts today.
Dear Lord, test us and try us and examine our heart and our mind. We pray You will crack open our stony heart so we can be the people You would have for us to be. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.