“And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” vs. 17
Whatever reason Jesus might have had for seeking baptism at the hands of John, there is no doubt that the experience marked the beginning of his ministry. As he came up out of the water, Matthew says, the heavens were opened to him, the Spirit of God came near, and he heard the voice of God. It’s noteworthy that he didn’t get a commission or a call–no one told him what to do. But he did get a divine word of affirmation–”you are my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased”–and that word changed the trajectory of his life. That declaration of love remains the central focus of baptism in the Church. Whether we’re baptized as infants or adults, whether we remember the ritual or not, through the water and the word we are claimed as beloved children of God. There’s no command or contract, just a covenant of love, and it will remain in effect as long as we live. We may drift away from church and give up on worship, but God’s love never ceases. No matter how life goes, through suffering and triumph, the Spirit of God always hovers near to remind us whose we are. We will never ever be separated from the unconditional, always compassionate, love of our Creator God.
Thought for the Day: At what times do I need words of love and affirmation?