“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
– Mark 1:9-11
A short eleven verses into the Gospel of Mark God the Father breaks into time and space, literally piercing the sky with his voice.
God’s purpose: to express his love to his Son.
In contrast to our culture’s performance based affirmation, Jesus has yet to “do” anything in ministry at this point and the Father is already well pleased.
God’s expressed love for Jesus, irrespective of Jesus’ performance, is significant for our lives several reasons.
First, it emphasizes the reality that the love of God cannot be earned, and since it cannot be earned it cannot be lost. God’s love for us is fixed. He loves us no more when we succeed and no less when we fail. He does not put us on a pedestal when we do well and he does not withhold his love when we do poorly. This is a concept that flies in the face of our usual experience of love which is performance based in most relationships.
Second, the reality of God’s fixed love for us destroys pride. If it were the case that God’s love increased with our good deeds then pride would be rampant. Legions of us would participate in a mad race to one up the other contestants in order ascend to the highest levels of divine love. Those at the top, exuberant at their triumph, would look down on those who couldn’t hack it with disdain and smug satisfaction.
However, none of us could sustain such a pursuit because of our sin-laden-humanness. Any stay at the top of God’s love would be short lived. The vast majority of people would end up despondent, having giving up the climb to ever measure up and earn God’s love as we are beset by consistent failure.
Third, since it is God’s love alone that is fixed we can’t look down upon those in our lives that fail to meet our need for love. How many people desperately long to hear that God is well pleased with us? Answer: every single one of us! Why? No matter how amazing our parents were they still failed in many ways. They were unable to fully give us the love we so desperately needed. God permits this reality for a very good reason.
God is the only one who can fill us fully and he has not allowed for any surrogate to meet our need for love entirely so that he can.
The statement made to Jesus can be fully applied to you and I. While there is a uniqueness to the love relationship between God the Father and God the Son, we as adopted sons and daughters are seen by God through the Son.
All of the Son’s accomplishments and righteousness are applied to our account such that when the Father looks at those redeemed by the Son, He sees us “in Jesus.” We can be assured that on the days when we fail that God still sees us fully righteous and pleasing in Jesus and God is still well pleased with us. On the days when we “do well,” we are humbled knowing that our goodness is only a response to the ultimate goodness of Jesus that is imputed to us.
Has it been a bad week? Has it been a good one? In either case, if Jesus has redeemed you, God is well pleased with you. Apart from how we perform, God’s love for us is fixed. We can’t earn it and we can’t lose it.
Praise God. And thank Jesus.
– Eric Creekmore, Lead Pastor