May 31st, 2016
Adoption would have been perfectly familiar to the first readers of John’s gospel. In the Roman world it was a common practice: often linked to political and economic necessity. In fact, many Roman emperors were adopted by the previous emperor, beginning with Augustus who was adopted by his great uncle, Julius Caesar. It became a clear, if not entirely bloodless, way of assuring imperial succession.
Adoption for love would have been less familiar, but adoption by right would have appeared entirely foreign. That the Word of God, the light of life for all mankind, would bestow the right on all who “receive Him” to become “children of God” by faith is astounding (John 1:12).
Under Roman law the final decision for adoption lay with the father, the paterfamilias. Our adoption as children of God is according to the will of Pater noster qui es in coelis (Our Father who is in heaven). This adoption is made possible through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh “the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Author: Duane Brush