My bible study has started one of our epic journeys again, this time through Mark’s Gospel. Last week we spent some time in chapter 1, and we talked a bit about Jesus’ baptism:
About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”
There are a few interesting threads going on here, but for where I’m at right now the thing that has always stood out to me about this story what Jesus hears from his father before his ministry begins.
Before the healings.
Before the feeding of the multitudes.
Before the transfiguration.
Before the cross.
Before all of that is, “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”
Those words precede Jesus’ ministry, and—I would suggest—were so deeply woven into his identity and his spirit that he was able to live out his ministry that they were (and are) in a sense Jesus’ ultimate identity.
He is the Beloved.
And the Father is pleased with him.
I’ve seen and heard Brené Brown’s name recently, and though I haven’t yet read her book Daring Greatly but if the 20 minutes of this TEDTalk are any indication, I think it’s going to be an important one.
She is ultimately speaking on vulnerability, but she begins with a concept that grabbed hold of me. In speaking about people who are have a healthy sense of what she calls “worthiness,” she says that “The people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believed they were worthy of love and belonging.”
She goes on to explain that this sense of worthiness, what she calls being able to “wholehearted”, flows from this belief, and ultimately allows people to live with courage, compassion, and connection to others.
Doesn’t that describe Jesus?
The courage with which he embraced his mission and vocation, the compassion with which he dealt with the hurting and broken, and the deep sense of connection that I believe he had with his disciples, all of these things flowed—in a sense—from that statement in Mark 1v11.
“You are my son…
“Whom I dearly love…
“In you I find happiness.”
Does that describe you?
It actually does.
The words that the Father spoke to Jesus He longs to speak to you; the difficulty is that sometimes we are either too scarred or too distracted and busy to hear it.
But this statement needs to proceed anything you do or want to be.
Because otherwise you’ll be unable to have the courage, the compassion, and the connection that you could possibly have.
And it takes time: trust me. I know I still fight to hear these words sometime.
But they will be spoken; they will come.
If you’ve never tried, you can begin to open up your heart and life to this by just setting aside a small body of time—even just 5 minutes—and begin to repeat that verse to yourself:
“I am God’s son/daughter; I am dearly loved. In me God finds happiness.”
It’s not a quick fix, but most good fixes aren’t quick. Say it long enough, and it will sink down deep into the rhythm of your life…
And you will believe.