But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12, ESV)There are a few words in this verse that need some explanation.
Let's think about the word, "receive" first. It is a word that is quite often translated "take". It means to grab ahold of or hold on to. In other words, all sorts of people who grab ahold of Jesus...
What about "believe"? It is the verb form of "faith". Sort of like, "they faithed in his name." Trust is a part of this word, but it also includes perspective. This is how you see things. How you view things. Your core understanding of the universe. To believe in the name of Jesus is not to simply believe that He existed and that He did the things that He did. No. It is to see Jesus for who He is... Lord and Savior of all. God of very God. Creator, Sustainer, our only Hope.
How about the word, "right"? Nearly every other time that this word shows up, it is translated as "authority". So, it is a right, as in a legal right. It is in their jurisdiction to become children of God.
That brings me to the word, "become". This is translated in a variety of ways. One of the most revealing is when it is translated "accomplish" or "be done". One of the other times it is translated "become" is when Jesus is tempted to have stones "become" bread. There is a transformation or an accomplishment of something happening.
So, all sorts of people who grab ahold of Jesus, in other words, who have Jesus as the core center of their whole belief system and world view, have been given the authority to consider themselves truly the children of God.