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."
When God speaks, we know our identity.
When I meet a stranger, I often ask their name. They answer with their name. Now I know their name, but do I really know them?
For much of his life, Jesus knew himself as Jesus. That’s what Mary and Joseph and his brothers and sisters called him. His carpentry customers no doubt called him Jesus or Jesus bar Joseph (Jesus son of Joseph). Then Jesus went to be baptized and there he received a life-changing identity: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
In the gospels he is known as teacher, prophet, carpenter, son of Joseph, son of Mary, brother of James and Joses and sisters, Messiah, Son of God, Beloved, Son of Man. Jesus, God’s Beloved, lived the authentic human life God intended for him, loving and serving all others unconditionally. He saw all people, including us, as God’s children, God’s beloved.
Identifying God, people know us by our name, by our work or positions, by our relationships as friends, as neighbors, or family. Keep us aware of our most important identity as your child, your beloved. Amen.