Every day, you and I awake with our name on an invisible business card. It is what is beneath our name – in the place where our titles, roles, skills, experience, and personal stages usually go – that determines everything.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus is under water, and the strong hands of John the Baptist are around his frame. Buried in the sea, this moment with Jesus foreshadows the tomb that will attempt to hold him forever in moments to come, after his life is spent on a cross of hideous design.
The waters of the seas and the oceans, for the ancient Jews, represented chaos – the great unknown, the always dangerous, and the spiritually ominous. The sea represented the mysterious home of unimaginable creatures (remember Leviathan?) and the burial ground of mighty ships and their brave inhabitants.
Jesus enters these waters of chaos, then rises from their depths imaging you and I, and the whole of the nation of Israel, rising with Him.
And then, it happens. Jesus gets the only business card He will ever need at this moment of his world-bending beginning of ministry.
We hear from heaven:
“This is my Son,
whom I love;
with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus has done nothing yet. No impressive miracles. No profound sermons. No storied acts of justice. And from this place of utter non-performance, the Father has only one title to put under Jesus name on his business card.
First, the Father secures his identity – “This is my son.” Jesus, nothing will change that you are my boy. Nothing. Remember this.
Second, the Father expresses affection – “…whom I love.” Jesus, I adore you. Before you face what you will face, I just want you to know how much I treasure you, how deeply I love you. You are my favorite, and my arms are around you.
Third, the Father empowers him with affirmation – “…with him I am well pleased.” Jesus, I’m already pleased with you before you do anything. You can’t earn my love, and you will never need to; I love you now as much as I ever will.
With these few words, the Father launches Jesus into a journey that will have him speaking before eager crowds without a desire to court their favor (the battle with success), and dragging a cruel cross to his own execution without a need to resist (the battle with suffering).
The Father knew that Love – encircling him within and without – would form the only armor Jesus would ever need to see his mission through.
And so it is with us. Beneath your name, on your business card, belongs only one of two words: “Son” or “Daughter.”
Your identity, like Jesus, is settled with the clear word of your child-status in your Father’s heart. There is no performance, no role, no activity, no brokenness nor beauty in you, that will ever take that from you.
Remain in love, rooted and established in love, defined by love. And keep any stage, role, or action off your spiritual business card. Just your name, and your identity as a son or daughter, is enough.
Spirit of God, Your love is enough for me. Forgive me for asking a role, a title, a noble action, or a stage to love me or to sustain my identity. Only You can love me, secure me, and send me into today with the resources I need to face success or suffering. Rewrite my business card with me, that I may be affirmed by, motivated by, and led by Your Love – in all I do.
In Jesus’ loving, leading Name,
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