It is the deep desire of every heart to be dearly loved. Mark 1:10-11 gives me a glimpse of God’s love for His Son. Jesus knew He was dearly loved, and His message for me is so am I.
As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.” (NLT)
As a child, I longed to hear those words. Christ provides a way for all of us to hear them. We must, however, be willing to come to a place of repentance and plunge deeply into His precious love. Baptism is a symbol of obedience, and obedience is the sign of true repentance.
Repentance isn’t about punishment. It is about the change that comes when I truly believe I am a dearly loved child of God. I love the way Mark gets that message across in his gospel. Eugene Peterson describes Mark in The Invitation.
“An event has taken place that radically changes the way we look at and experience the world, and he can’t wait to tell us about it. There’s an air of breathless excitement in nearly every sentence he writes. The sooner we get the message, the better off we’ll be, for the message is good, incredibly good; God is here, he’s on our side. Mark says he even calls us ‘family.'” (p. 162)
Each time I read or pray the Lord’s Prayer, I marvel at its opening words. “Our Father” is the way Jesus told us to address God, The Creator. I like pause and let those words sink into my heart. God is my Father, and He dearly loves me. My obedience brings Him joy, and that brings me joy.
I so wanted to be dearly loved by my father. I secretly wished for daddy to be proud of me, but I knew he wasn’t. He constantly belittled me and even called me “stupid.” He seemed anything but loving or proud, but I came to see him through the lens of Christ’s precious love before he died. I’m so thankful I was able to tell my daddy that I loved him and knew that he loved me.
God loves to hear how much I love Him, but He prefers hearing that I know He loves me. When Jesus came up out of the Jordan River after being baptized by John the Baptist, God was a proud daddy who could not contain His joy. He had to let Jesus and all present know how much He loved Him and how very proud He was of Him.
Baptism marked the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ. God knew where it would lead and so did Christ. God dearly loved His only Son for His willingness to obey unto death, enabling all His children to know they were dearly loved.
I only have one son, but I know he knows he’s dearly loved. There is nothing that delights me more than knowing he loves me. I fixed a plate for his lunch yesterday, and he sent a text thanking me when he sat down to eat it. It’s the kind of thing he always does, and that makes me a very proud mama.
Seeing him love and delight in his daughters is the most beautiful blessing of all. His girls know they are dearly loved, and that legacy of love is all that matters in this world and the next. I thank God for my loving son, and I thank Him for His loving Son whose precious love changes everything.