Jesus, like the rest of us, needed love and approval from His Father; He needed to know who He was as the Son. In other words, He needed to understand His identity. The Bible doesn’t tell us how much Jesus knew about Himself from childhood, but somewhere along the way, He began to realize who He was and the special call on His life as the Messiah.
Now, as a thirty-year-old man, ready to begin His public ministry, which would end on a cross, Jesus needed to be publicly affirmed in His identity. Thus, as John baptized Him, symbolically commissioning Him for His ministry, “A voice from Heaven said, ‘This is my son whom I love. With him I am well pleased’” (Matt. 3:17).
Here, the Father spoke to His Son’s heart the two most important identity messages: love and approval.
In the original language, the Greek word agapetos, translated in the NIV as “loved,” is more accurately translated “beloved.” In other words, the Father declared, “This is My Son, My Beloved.”
The Greek definition reveals the weight of this carefully chosen word, which would have communicated something like, “Son, I love You dearly; I adore You; I love You as My favorite!” It was as if Father God was wrapping Jesus tightly in His unseen arms. That’s the emotional intensity portrayed in this scene.
This is what Jesus meant to the Father, and it is what we mean to Him, too.
This is an excerpt from my new book Loved Like Jesus.
I wrote it because I want you to experience the deep love that your heavenly Father has for you. Living from this reality as a much loved son or daughter, you can rest in a confident connection with Him and experience abundant living and lasting freedom.
Order my book today for yourself and an extra copy for a friend, your pastor and/or your small group.