Matthew 3:16-17 NIV
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 alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Do you have a business card? I’ve had many through the years. Each one typically has a few common features: my full name, my title, my contact information, and anything else I think is special about me that should be in the hand and mind of someone on the receiving end.
If Jesus had a business card, it would look very different than mine, of that I am sure. In his baptismal waters, the Holy Spirit descends. The Son of God sees the Spirit descending on him. And the Father’s voice speaks Jesus’ business card out into the world for all to hear.
This is my Son. Jesus receives a word of identity. He is seen, known, and loved for who and whose he is. He belongs to Someone, his Father. He will know his place in the world no matter what resistance or opportunities to feel misplaced or misfit may come. He is prepared to be unloved by the crowds because the Father has settled the love question before he even begins his ministry.
Whom I love. Jesus receives a word of affection. He will face large crowds, all shouting his name, both in a spirit of overwhelming appreciation and in a spirit of utter rejection. He will know he is loved before all that begins. He will not need to court the crowd for his sense of belovedness. Neither their accolades nor the accusations will move him.
With him I am well pleased. Jesus receives a word of affirmation. Jesus has not done one miracle by the time of his baptism. He does not need to have succeeded, or to have accomplished something, for his Father to approve of him. “Jesus,” it seems the Father is saying, “I approve of you if you never do even one thing.” That is what love does; it removes our need to achieve to be affirmed.
Jesus’ business card would have had one word on it: Son. And that word would capture his sense of identity, his sense of belovedness, and his sense of approval. If my own son had a business card that only had that one word beneath his name, I would be the proudest father on earth. What’s on your spiritual business card? What if it was only your name, and “son” or “daughter” beneath it?
When the foundation for the Spirit’s power to work through us in spiritual gifts is love, we will represent the Father’s heart as we do the business to which he’s invited us. We won’t be seeking identity, affection, or approval from fickle crowds.
To first know our belovedness is the only way to live like Jesus in this world. And the Spirit confers the love of the Father to our hearts.
Jesus, I receive the Holy Spirit. Just as you found your identity in the love of the Father for you, so too I want to find my identity in the Father’s love for me. Come, Holy Spirit, let my life be marked by belovedness, so when your power works through me I can keep it all in perspective. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Do you have a sense of the love of the Father naming you, loving you, and affirming you as you begin today? What could you do to reclaim that reality in your heart?
For the awakening,