Child of God

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.

New posts in this series will appear most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Mark 1_11

Its His Story

And John preached, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” ~ Mark 1:7-8

Today we begin a new devotional series though the gospel of Mark. Of the four gospels, Mark’s is the shortest and most fast paced, often using the term immediately not as a brief passage of time but as a quick transition from one account to the next.

Mark began his gospel with a quote from Isaiah about the messenger who would “prepare the way of the Lord.” He then described John the baptizer and his ministry to prepare people’s hearts for Jesus coming on the scene. Though John was popular and many went to see him, his attitude was one of humility. He knew his role in the grand story of Scripture—he was not the point, Jesus was.

He also knew that Jesus’ work would be far greater than his. Whereas he called people to repentance and baptism, Jesus offered something greater. Though Jesus also called people to repent (1:15) and be baptized (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus would do something John could not: baptize people with the Holy Spirit.

Two of the first things that happen when we come to Jesus are: 1) Jesus fills us with the Holy Spirit, securing our new spiritual life, gifting us to serve others, and assuring us our place among God’s family; and 2) We begin to realize that our life’s story is not primarily about us but about Jesus.

Though John had a one-of-a-kind role in the world’s history, we are like him in that we need to humble ourselves under the exalted Jesus and we need to see ourselves as part of something bigger.

As Jesus fills us with the Spirit, may we make our life story all about Jesus. May we live to make his name famous. And may we serve others in such a way that they see us clearly pointing them to our Savior-King.

 

New posts in this series will appear most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.