When Jesus Christ came into this world, the nation to which He belonged did not receive Him although they had been told to expect Him. Their prophets had written about how and where their Messiah would be born, what kind of person He would be, even how He would be crucified, buried and rise again from the dead. But they did not believe in Him; instead they refused and rejected Him. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:10-11).
But some people did believe and accept Him for who He was. Convinced by what they saw and heard, some men and women believed “in His name”. They believed He was the Son of God. One of them was Peter, who said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Believing in Him meant taking Him into their hearts and lives. Some, like Martha, Mary and Zacchaeus, welcomed Him into their homes (Luke 10:38; 19:6-7). Those who did receive Him received from Him in return something much greater, something that no one else could give. They received the right to become the children of God. What an amazing thing to happen just because they believed in Him!
It is still the same today. Believing in Christ is recognising who He is. Receiving Him is personally accepting Him and what He has done for us through His death on the cross. This entitles us to become the children of God. Right now we face the same choice that they had then – to believe and receive Christ or to refuse and reject Him. The consequences are real and everlasting.