Beloved Son

40 Names of Jesus in 40 days of Lent — Day 6

and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:16-17

The feast of the Baptism of Jesus is celebrated on 6th January, which for those who follow the Julian calendar is 19th January on the Gregorian calendar, and for those who follow the Gregorian Callendar is a double celebration with Epiphany. The baptism feast is seen as a Trinitarian feast in these churches. In the west, the Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans, as well as some others, celebrate the feast on the Sunday following the Epiphany.

I like the Orthodox practice of celebrating the Trinity in the baptism of Jesus. Jesus is there, The Holy Spirit appears as a dove and the voice of the Father booms out. Whether these happened in reality or in the form of a vision revealed to John or Jesus is unclear, but the words of the Father are important, Jesus is his beloved son, and he is pleased with him.

Son is a word of relationship, as is Father. The Holy Trinity has existed since before creation in a relationship and here, at the baptism we see that relationship being passed on to humans. The Father said he was well pleased with Jesus getting baptised as it was on the surface something he had no need of doing. But in getting baptised among people being baptised to have their sins removed, Jesus was relating to sinful people. It was this, identifying with the worst of human nature, that the father was pleased about, Jesus came to save even the very worst.

That the Father called Jesus his beloved son at this point, when Jesus is identifying with flawed humanity, is important because the very relationship between Jesus and the Father is being shared with humans. All who come to Jesus can share in this relationship. God is fully inclusive.

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