The story of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River is quite remarkable. His cousin John is conducting the ceremony. The text (Luke 3) tells us how the people were waiting expectantly for the Messiah, assuming it might be John. But, he corrects their inaccurate assumption by answering them, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
John’s words exhorted the people as he proclaimed the good news to them. They stood in line to receive their blessing.
Shortly thereafter, Jesus arrives riverside, ready to be baptized by John: unworthy to untie his sandals, but ready to facilitate his baptismal blessing. “And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3: 21-22)
You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. A baker’s dozen of life-changing words from heaven. For Jesus. From the Father. In the form of a descending dove. The Voice. From heaven. Filled with affection. Received with joy.
When’s the last time you heard similar words from a loved one? Were you able to embrace the affirming expression of deep affection? Or, did you find yourself pushing back, unable to fully receive the words? Or, worse yet, perhaps you’ve never heard such affirming words from a loved one?
Knowing we are loved is life changing. Hearing the words is radical. Believing the sentiment is transformational. Delivering such words is a privilege. A gift and a joy all wrapped up as one.
Perhaps we don’t offer words of love because of the drought that exists in our own hearts. All of us need to know we are dearly loved. It begins with the words of the Heavenly Father to us, just as he delivered them to his Son, Jesus. Those words are ours to claim as well.
You are a dearly loved child of God. With you he is well pleased. Receive God’s love today and be transformed by the truth of that simple word. Then offer the love of God to all who cross your path today. I’m confident you’ll surprise many and please the One who delights most in your delivery.
Embrace your belovedness. Bless others accordingly. Start today.