This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Matthew 3:17
My friend’s father died recently. When he got sick, his condition deteriorated quickly, and in a matter of days he was gone. My friend and his dad always had a strong relationship, but there were still so many questions to be asked, answers to be sought, and conversations to be had. So many unsaid things, and now his father is gone. My friend is a trained counselor: he knows the ups and downs of grief and how to help others navigate those troubled waters. Still, he told me, “Some days I just need to hear Dad’s voice, that reassurance of his love. It always meant the world to me.”
A pivotal event at the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry was His baptism at the hands of John. Although John tried to resist, Jesus insisted that moment was necessary so He might identify with humankind: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). John did as Jesus asked. And then something happened that proclaimed Jesus’ identity to John the Baptist and the crowd, and it must have also deeply touched Jesus’ heart. The Father’s voice reassured His Son: “This is my Son, whom I love” (v. 17).
That same voice in our hearts reassures believers of His great love for us (1 John 3:1).
When have you heard the Father’s voice speak reassuring words to you? How can you reach out to others today and encourage them with that same reassurance?
Father, thank You so much for Your reassuring voice telling me whose I am and how much I’m loved.
Learn more about the life of Christ.
The first words of Jesus in Matthew are in response to John the Baptist’s protesting his unworthiness to baptize Jesus (Matthew 3:13–14). Jesus responds, “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (v. 15). What does “fulfill all righteousness” mean? “Righteousness” can refer to obedience to God’s law and harmony with His will. But it can also refer to God’s righteousness—His goodness, justice, and faithfulness.
In this passage, “righteousness” seems to include both meanings. Jesus’ baptism was done in obedience to God’s will to fulfill His plan and promises. Through His baptism, Jesus took on Israel’s sin and need for rebirth, fulfilling Isaiah’s image of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 42), who redeemed Israel by taking on its sin and suffering. But in this moment, God’s faithful righteousness was most powerfully revealed as His promises to redeem Israel and the world began to be fulfilled.