11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.
In verse 11 we have a greater tragedy than in verse 10—the rejection of the Light by the Jews.
11 He came to His own [things],
The word “own” in this phrase is neuter and should be translated “own things.” Jesus came to claim His kingdom on earth.
and His own [people] did not receive Him.
Jews were concerned about their heritage. They thought that as the children of Abraham they had special prerogative and privilege before God. They thought that they were acceptable to God because of their heritage.
The second “own” in this verse is masculine and should be translated “own people.” Jesus came to His own people Israel but they did not “receive” Him (Jn 5:46-47; 7:47-52). The word “receive” means welcome. To “receive” Him means to entrust oneself to Jesus, to acknowledge His claims. Israel did not welcome Jesus; the nation Israel outright rejected Him as their Messiah. Jesus sought permanent communion and possession of Israel, but they were hostile to His message.
Israel was God’s chosen people (Ex 19:5; Deut 7:6). His chosen people as a national entity did not accept Jesus as the Messiah when He came.
We receive Christ by faith.
There is a debate about whether a person who “receives” Christ can be a Christian and whether this is a proper term for salvation. Regarding whether we can use the idea of “receiving Christ” as an expression of salvation, as some assert, this verse answers that we can. However, receiving is a synonym with believing (Co 2:6). Receiving in itself is not an adequate term for describing how one becomes a Christian. A Christian becomes a believer by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. This is the argument of the entire Gospel of John.