In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
16 Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him. – Mark 1:9-20
One of the greatest lingering wounds people carry is the unfulfilled desire to hear a word of affirmation, approval, or love from their fathers. Deep yearnings bore holes of discouragement, shame, and resentment in the hearts of children when dads don’t say things like, “I love you. I’m proud of you. I think you’re doing well.” Often those holes are not discovered until much later in life. Both women and men will admit to these wounds. Dads can have a powerful impact on their children.
Jesus’ dad – the heavenly Father – left no such hole in Jesus’ heart. You can almost see the proud papa bursting the buttons on his chest as his Son is baptized. He rips the clouds open and declares his delight and love toward his Son on this occasion.
And this is not the only time it happens. He speaks similar words on the mount of transfiguration: This is my beloved Son. Listen to him (Mark 9:7). He’s one proud papa. At Jesus’ baptism the Father speaks directly to his Son, “You are my Son…” On the mountain with Moses and Elijah, the Father speaks about his Son, “This is my Son…” He is willing to let Jesus know it personally, and willing to let others know about his delight in Jesus as well. This is one proud papa.
It’s not difficult to see why this is so. Jesus is set to begin his ministry, and even before he speaks the first words Mark records, he subjects himself to John’s baptism. This baptism is for sinners. It’s for people to express their repentance and be assured of God’s forgiveness. Jesus has no sin to confess. He needs no forgiveness. Yet here he is. He will take away the sins of the world. To do so, he will take on the sins of the world by stepping into these waters of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
This makes his papa very happy. For although it will cost them both greatly, this was their plan from all eternity. Jesus had come to fulfill God’s will, to be all that Israel or Adam were unable to be. The Good News begins to unfold here and now.
If the Father is well pleased with Jesus, what would be his opinion of those who are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness – through baptism, no less! Imagine this: God calls us his sons and daughters. He is well pleased with us on account of Jesus’ righteousness. That makes him our proud papa as well. Kinda hard to believe, isn’t it? But oh so sweet to the ears of those are Jesus’ brothers and sisters. Oh so sweet! We have one proud papa afterall!