Matthew 3:13-17 (NRSV)
Verse 13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. Verse 14John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Verse 15But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. Verse 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. Verse 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."
The voice of God proclaims from the heavens: "This is my Son, the Beloved." Whatever the world would have to say about Jesus, God's claim on his identity is the only one that matters. Before he "accomplishes" anything, before he "achieves" or "succeeds," this Spirit-anointed servant, this whirlwind prophet, this promised one is named and claimed by God. Everything else we teach and preach and know about Jesus flows from that identity: "This is my Son, the Beloved."
God's naming and claiming does not stop with Jesus. By your baptism into Jesus' death and resurrection God names and claims you: "You are my beloved child." Whatever other mantle you might claim — whatever else the world might say to you or about you — this is the claim that stands before and above all others: "You are my beloved child." Out of this identity flows all the other gifts that come to us in baptism: forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
Lord of spirit and truth, your word creates and shapes reality. Give us faith to live, in fullness and without fear, by our true name: child of God. Amen.