In Matthew 3 we find perhaps the clearest picture of Jesus’ personal experience of the Father’s love. At the start of His public ministry, Jesus went to the Jordan River and asked John the Baptist to baptize Him.

Matthew records the story this way:

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” (Matthew 3:16–17).


In this simple event, Jesus was embraced by the unseen arms of the Father in two significant ways. This embrace confirmed His identity and filled Him with power, enabling Him to accomplish His life purpose.

This was necessary because, although He was fully God, Jesus was also fully human. When Jesus came to earth, He voluntarily left behind the attributes of His divinity in order to put on human flesh (see Phil. 2:5–8). Jesus had a human body just like ours, and He experienced the same kinds of practical needs and challenges we do—including hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and pain. He also had the full array of human emotions.

Joy and sorrow, compassion and anger, peace and distress—Jesus had to deal with it all just like we do. And just like the rest of us, Jesus was wired with a core need for love that could only be fulfilled by His Father.

This is exactly why Jesus needed to be baptized.

Though He was perfect, He was also human, and He needed to begin His ministry with a reaffirmation of His Father’s love.

For this reason, when Jesus came up out of the water, God gave Him two signs of His love. The dove of the Spirit landed on Him, and God audibly declared Christ’s identity as His loved and approved Son.

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.

Be blessed, my friends.

Thanking Him for you,