"Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, 'You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased'" (Luke 3:21-22, ESV).
My father loves this story of Jesus hearing his Father’s words of affirmation and pride. He believes that God actually has the same affection for us. There are even verses to back that up.
Jesus prayed for believers, "that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17:23).
Read that last part again. Let it really sink in. God the Father loves you just as much as he loves Jesus. It’s a fact, not mere sentiment or some clever handling of Scripture.
How incredible is that? Scripture even tells us that we are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). If we are in him, then we are perpetually being loved like the Son, and that love is extravagant beyond measure:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1a).
It wasn’t a huge surprise the other day when I got a text from my dad that said: “I love u son u r a great joy to me.” I sat motionless in my vehicle beside the road, tears brimming, as I experienced a deep awareness of just how much I’m loved by my father and that my Heavenly Father loves me even more.
Then two weeks later, my oldest son, Caleb, nearly blinded my youngest son in one eye. He accidentally poked Isaac in the eye with a big stick. A centimeter higher and Isaac’s eye could have been damaged permanently. It was a mess of blood, screams, and panic. Understandably, Caleb was feeling terrible: “I feel stupid,” he told me with great remorse.
Half an hour later, when my anger had cooled down, I felt a nudge from the Spirit to affirm my oldest son. I invited him outside for a talk and told him, “Son, I love you. No mistake you make, no matter how big, will ever change that. You are a great joy to me.” Immediately, I saw the shame lift off of his shoulders; he stood up straighter. Joy and appreciation filled his eyes.
It all started with that voice from heaven after Jesus’ baptism. My dad never heard such words from his father, but God filled that hole and taught him how to speak those words of life to me. That blessing was contagious. I was empowered to share those words with my son, and my prayer is that by God’s grace, my sons will do the same.
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