As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17
These are momentous occasions in the gospel; defining moments in Jesus’ life that have profound effect on the days that follow: the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3) and the Transfiguration (Mark 9) with Moses and Elijah. These are moments when the Father appears, speaks, and validates what Jesus is doing and who he is. I love the fact that at both the transfiguration and the baptism God the Father identifies Jesus in identical ways. In both cases he says little, in terms of words, but he says vast amounts with the few words he chooses. In both cases the Father identifies Jesus simply as his Son whom he loves.
He could have said, “This is my son, and he is very powerful. Listen to him or else” or “This is my son and he is perfect so admire him.” In fact he could have said any number of things which would have been true and impressive, but instead he simply says, “This is my Son, whom I love.”
The most important thing to the Father when introducing us to his Son seems to be the fact that he loves Jesus. This is a defining factor of their relationship. It’s not just a given that “goes without saying” or a personal truth that is privately held between father and son. It’s the thing which defines who the Son is to the Father. It’s the most important thing to know about the Son—as far as the Father is concerned.
Why didn’t God take the opportunity to explain how Jesus is the Messiah? Why not expand on the reality of Jesus as Creator turned Savior? Why not take advantage of the audience and express the ways in which Jesus fulfills the prophecies about a coming and anointed One?
Perhaps because as important as though are, these moments find a Father being swept away by his own love and affection for his Son. Regardless of everything else going on we find a Father looking on his son with such pride and love that when he opens his mouth to speak all that comes forth is a profession of love.
The Father and Son share a deep and intimate relationship with the Spirit. If we understand the Bible and believe it to be true then we can recognize that all forms of healthy, loving relationship we experience are outpourings and expressions of this Father-Son-Spirit love. When the Father looks at Son separated, Son come to save, he sees Son he loves. How could the introduction not be taken over by the desire to tell all, “This is my Son and I love him.”
As a father this draws my mind and heart to my own relationship with my son and daughters. Am I representing the Father well? Am I defining my relationships with my children by love and affection? Or do I get swept away by chores and conflict? By “he looked at me funny” and “she touched my toy?” As a father I am inspired by this quiet and faithful example of what it means to be a father; of what it means to love well and live in relationship well with my children. It sheds light on the call of Paul to not exasperate my children.
And I know it’s not just for fathers. It’s for all who take up the call to live in relationship with others. To love as Jesus loves us. To love as Jesus is loved by his Father.
“This is my Son, whom I love.” It could work in our relationships too, couldn’t it? It was meant to I think. Relationships with our children, our neighbors, our friends all defined by love. This is the call of the Son who knows what is to be loved by the Father. It’s the call to live in love just as he is loved.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. John 15:9
Over at HigherCallingBlogs.com they will be posting links to other father related writings after next Tuesday, June 15th. Be sure to check them out!