Pride from the Father – LK 3:15-16, 21-22

Gospel       LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”


Beloved Baptism Because Bath Before Behavior


“You are my beloved Son – with you I am well pleased.”
I love this sentence. My dad passed away back in 2013 from cancer at age 71, which feels too young in this day and age. When he was in hospice, his last words to me were “I’m glad you are my son.” He had no strength left and his last words were appreciating me. I felt immense joy – I had made my dad proud of me. He wouldn’t have said this if I hadn’t lived a good  life.  He more likely would have said something on the order of – I love you my son.  But his love shown through his appreciation of  me, my accomplishments, and our  relationship.
We all want to have our actions appreciated at some level. Feeling good about making our parent’s proud is part of our nature.
But I would like to reflect on God speaking out loud when Jesus got baptize. First of all, this is just amazing!  Jesus submerges in the Jordan river and as he emerges, there is flashing, like a flock of doves flapping and emerging with Christ.  That would be amazing in and of itself. Next, we hear God speak! For some reason, I think of the voice of James Earl Jones, booming and saying:
“You are my beloved Son – with you I am well pleased.”
Wow – what I would give to hear God’s voice like this. Imagine the voice coming from every direction in THX-Dolby-Stereophonic-Surround sound.  It must have been unforgettable!
There are two parts to what God said here:
1. You are my beloved Son.
Jesus didn’t actually have to do anything to receive the love of the Father. Nothing. For most of us, we don’t have to do anything at all for our parents to love us – to the moon and back. My love for my kids is unconditional – they don’t have to do anything to receive this love. In much the same way, we are loved by God, unconditionally.  However, the second part of the sentence is actually more important.
2. “With you I am well pleased.”
God says this right as Jesus emerges from the Jordan. My first thought is God thinking:
Finally!  Jesus took a bath! I am well pleased!
I think it is important for us to think what would got after this.  I am well pleased BECAUSE …..WHY?
I don’t think it was the action of being baptized that God was please with.
He didn’t say, I’m well pleased with what you are going to do.
He didn’t say, I’m proud of who you are becoming.
I think the BECAUSE was the entire life of Jesus up to this point. He said “I am well pleased.” Something – actually, probably everything before in Jesus’s life before made God please with Jesus.
We don’t think about Jesus as the MAN Jesus too often.  We hear lots about his public life, about his miracles and able his death and resurrection. What I want to talk about today is the 30 years before this baptism.
What did Jesus do as a job?
Well, we know he was a carpenter. He probably learned this craft working with his early father. What about this would make God pleased?
Well, he must have worked hard. He must have treated his customers fairly. He worked to excel at his craft. If he didn’t, God probably would not have been pleased.
How did he treat his parents?
He would have treated them respectfully.  He would be polite. He would have helped them as they grew older. He was likely a good student to his earthly father, Joseph, who taught Him the craft of being a carpenter.
Was he a good friend?
If he pleased God, he must have been. He probably liked joking around with them, playing games, helping with their projects, visiting them when they were sick.
Did he follow God’s commandments?
Of course – God was pleased with him. Besides, in a strange circular way, these commandments were really His commandments as well.
When my father spoke to me, he was pleased with me as his son because (I hope) of the way I grew up, how I treated my family and friends, and how I comported myself in life. He loved me unconditionally, like most parents do their kids. But my life was pleasing to him.
But God’s standards are way higher than my dad’s….It would be impossible for any of us to meet that standard. Jesus was God in Man’s form, so he was able to step up to the challenge.
BUT – he always had the choices to do otherwise. He could have chosen to sin, to give in to his earthly side at any time. Buy he chose better. Always. For his entire lift up until then. And God was pleased that he did.
So when Jesus chose to be baptized, and God spoke, God was just recognizing the amazing person Jesus was up until this point. Getting baptized wasn’t essential for Jesus, but it showed that he was obedient, just like Jesus had been obedient for His entire life. And I think that is what God would also like for us.