Jesus is baptized by John. The heavens open up. The Spirit descends like a dove.
“You are My beloved Son, in You, I am well pleased.”
In the function of the book of Mark, this is the endorsement of Jesus. This is the stamp of YHWH himself on this rabbi. God is telling the world to listen to this man.
But I kept thinking, “I wonder if this is the essence of the good news.”
This passage is, of course, first about Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation. He is the firstborn of all His brothers and sisters—of us.
Firstborn and the One who makes way for us to hear the same words from God.
“These are My children, and in them, I am well pleased.”
The good news is, God has not abandoned us.
The good news is, we are His children.
The good news is, God loves us.
God is pleased with us. That is good news. That is Gospel.
I know, at some level, this offends my evangelical brethren (and sisteren), but I believe God is pleased with us. Not in some performance sort of way. Certainly, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, to be sure, but isn’t there more to God’s being pleased with us than our performance?
My own daughters have broken my heart, but over and over, I have called people around me, put my arm around their necks and said, “These are my daughters, whom I love and in whom I am well pleased.” Well, maybe not those exact words, but words to that effect. It doesn’t mean I endorse everything about their lives, or that they have never let me down, or that they don’t frustrate me at a very deep level, but it means they are my children and I am crazy about them.
I really am crazy about my children.
I would crawl across broken glass for my children.
So would God.
God would crawl across broken glass for His children. Why would He do such a thing? Because He loves us.
The Gospel is that God loves us. Mark is telling us the story of the Spirit descending on humanity and the voice of God saying, “You are My children.”
Me? God loves me?
***Next Passage Mark 1:14-15***
“I know at some level this offends my evangelical brethren (and sisteren).” I agree. But not because of an offense against a theological position. Personally, because I find it hard to accept the love and pleasure of God prior to Jesus’ action on my behalf. When you hear for so long that you are unworthy you begin to believe that God could not be pleased with you prior to any work on your behalf by him. But I have learned to accept that God is indeed pleased with me. He was pleased with me before I loved Jesus. He was pleased with me before I accepted his affirmation of pleasure in Jesus. It is sometimes hard to hear that you are loved. You are unsure if you can believe it. Believe it. You are loved.
Justin!!!! It has been so long.
Agreed. Matt reminded me you were blogging. Happy to jump in and engage. It’s nice to talk with you again.
“26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
vs. 18… and He blessed them.
For me, that is why God loves us. He created us to love us… before He sent Jesus he loved us. Therefore He sent Jesus so we can be back in relationship.
I don’t understand why we in christendom have trouble with this…other than we know we are unworthy. And yet… He created us to love us…. even me.
When created, God said this is good. God is all loving. I believe. We are blessed to be chosen. The gift of faith. Not all have this. That is love.
God’s love for us is just too amazing. We have to keep inventing ways to “earn” it, which turns it into something other than love. This post reminded me of a quote by Desmond Tutu on God’s love.
“It’s like when you sit in front of a fire in winter — you are just there in front of the fire. You don’t have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you.”
It is funny because “earning it” has become “do nothing” in some people’s minds. That is, at the same time, both the point and the opposite of the point. Neither is love. THIS is love.
The thief on the cross. That’s God’s love. Not earned but a gift. God loves everyone the same. No one can boast.
It amazes me to think that God loves me enough to pour Himself into making it possible for me to be, not only in fellowship with Him, but also His child. I don’t think I get it.