And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” ~ Mark 1:11 (ESV)
One way to look at life is as a series of events in which we try to figure out who we are. Though in some ways we remain the same, in many ways we become different people throughout the stages of life. The adult version of you is vastly different than the teenage or toddler version of you, though you’re still you.
Yet, through all the changes and stages of life, at the core we long for affirmation and belonging.
Before Jesus began his ministry, the Father spoke to him of both affirmation and belonging. Mark’s account to follow of Jesus’ temptation by Satan is brief and leaves out these details, but Matthew and Luke tell us that Satan struck at the identity of Jesus and sought to counter the Father’s voice. “If you are the Son of God,” Satan would say.
All the more reason that we see the Father’s words given to Jesus at this point in the gospel story. He tells Jesus, “You are my beloved Son,” or: You are my dear child and I love you deeply; and, “With you I am well pleased,” or: I am happy with who you are as a person.
These are the same affirmations we long to hear as well. We seek them from our earthly parents, how much more do we seek them from our Heavenly Father?
It does not, however, take much reflection on our part to realize just how undeserving we are of hearing those words from the Father. Yes, Jesus deserved them, because he never rebelled and always did the Father’s good will. But we rebel and fall short of God’s goodness each day.
Yet, it is precisely here that we find grace. Jared Wilson wrote, “You are a great sinner, yes. But you have a great Savior. Child of God, you are a child of God. And he will never, ever, ever leave you or forsake you” (The Imperfect Disciple).
One of my favorite summaries of the gospel story is 2 Corinthians 5:21, where Paul says of Jesus: “For our sake the Father made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus became our sin that we could become God’s righteousness. This means that he took on all our rebellion and gave us all his perfection, so that if we belong to Jesus, then when the Father said, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased,” he spoke these words over us as well.
This glorious truth frees us. We don’t have to figure out how to live in order to please God. God already made us his children, pleasing in his sight. We seek to live a life honoring to our Father, through our Savior, because he is pleased with us. We don’t lay aside our sin and pick up God’s holiness in order to earn his favor, we do so because we have his favor.
So, as Wilson said, if you belong to Jesus, then you are a child of God.
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