I came across something curious recently in Bible study. It’s this verse:
After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”
It’s the account of Jesus being baptized. The story is that John the Baptist was out baptizing people and telling people he was not the Messiah they were waiting for but that He was coming soon. Jesus gets at the back of the line to be baptized. After it’s over the Holy Spirit literally comes down and lands on him in the form of a dove and God speaks audibly and says: “you’re my kid and I love you and I’m proud of you”. It’s the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. So far his life was not very interesting. He was a carpenter from a small town, and not a very notable small town either. He had done nothing worthy of praise in the eyes of men. In fact, he was a child of scandalous origins since Mary claimed to be a virgin and got pregnant before getting married. Everyone saw him as a fatherless child or a child of questionable heritage who Joseph, Mary’s husband and the man who was acting as Jesus’ father, had agreed to raise and not ask questions. The whole thing was very questionable. Jesus was probably somewhat an outcast in his social circles. So, he goes to get baptized and people are probably thinking “well good because he could certainly use some sanctification from those origins”.
Then a crazy thing happens. A dove comes down and lands on his shoulder. Interestingly the dove is a symbol of peace and purification in the bible. People used doves as a sacrifice to purify themselves of sin. A dove was used to find land and salvation for Noah. The Holy Spirit took a form of a dove perhaps saying that Jesus was pure and was to be our sacrifice as a type and shadow.
Then God says to Jesus “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life”.
That whole phrase is very interesting. First because after that the Bible goes on to give Jesus’s lineage and show how he is God’s son. God is telling everyone that Jesus is His son. There is no scandal about him. God claims him. Then God goes on to say how proud He is of Jesus and that he loves him. This is interesting because to this point Jesus hasn’t begun his ministry. He has done nothing really. No miracles, no disciples, but God is proud. God is proud of WHO he is not what he DOES.
Why would God choose to tell Jesus this? Does Jesus need to hear it? God knows Jesus is just beginning his ministry and will be tested. He knows he will be dealing with haters and people saying all kinds of things about him and Jesus needs to hear He is proud. Maybe. I think it’s there for us. I think God wants us to know He is proud of us because we are His children. It’s not about what we DO but WHO we are. He is pleased with us. We are his sons and daughters and nothing we do or don’t do can change that fact. We don’t have to do anything to convince God to love us or gain HIs approval. He loves to no matter what.