Beloved, Son, Pleased

“Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ ”  Mark 1:11

The time is at hand for Jesus to begin his public labors. For the past thirty years he’s done what no other person has ever done, he has lived a sinless life. He’s never been disobedient, rebellious, impatient, unkind, or unloving. One can imagine that there have been times when his  righteous inclinations came into conflict with the unrighteous expectations of others but even in these instances a way has been found to respectfully refrain from what he’s been asked to do. God’s will is always first for Jesus. 

Following his earthly father Joseph’s death Jesus has worked as a carpenter to provide for his mother Mary. Now the carpenter’s tools are set aside and the shop door closed. Now his feet carry him south from his home in Galilee to the banks of the Jordan River in Judea where his cousin John is preaching to the people and baptizing those who repent. 

Jesus has come to be baptized. He has never sinned so he has no need to repent for himself but he’s not doing this for himself. Everything he does he does for us. 

We’re all sinners, and our sinfulness is so deeply engrained that it affects and contaminates every thing we do and every thought we have. Our sinfulness even taints our most sincere repentance. It’s for this reason that Jesus is baptized. He is our substitute. His perfect repentance and submission replace our faulty attempts and fulfills our need. 

Mark records that as Jesus comes out of the water a voice is heard from heaven saying, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

I’m not sure what part of this statement I love the most: the words “My Son”, the word “beloved”, or the phrase “in whom I’m well pleased.”  Each of these elements in this brief pronouncement has a significance and weight that is to me profound. The first confirms identity and affirms kinship, the second assures that the one affirmed is valued and loved, and the third communicates approval of the beloved and what he’s done.

My love language is words of affirmation, which means that more than anything else, it’s what people say to me about myself and what I’ve done that tells me that they value and care for me. Gifts, quality time, and a helping hand are all appreciated but more than anything it’s words that leave a mark either for good or ill. And my heart thrills to imagine my Heavenly Father proclaiming those words over me. 

And he does. Because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice God does claim me as his son. Because of Jesus I am beloved of my Heavenly Father.  Because the Holy Spirit is working in me and through me I’m learning to live a life that pleases God. Jesus has made a way for me, and anyone else who will accept him, to hear the words, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

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