Have you ever read something in the Bible a hundred times and then have something pop out the 101st time? This happened to me today when I read this verse.
It’s like God literally opened up the sky to make this statement about Jesus because He wanted everyone to hear it. Jesus had just been baptized by John and was preparing for His life’s work. Right after this, Jesus would go into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. His entire ministry, and the fate of mankind hinged on these 40 days.
Satan attempted to cause Jesus to fall into sin and therefore disqualify as the perfect and sinless sacrifice. We all know Jesus passed this test and ultimately went on to defeat sin and death at the cross by building Himself up in the Word of God. He comes against Satan’s deceptions and temptations with the Word of God, but we can’t forget these words spoken right before Jesus went into the wilderness.
“This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” I believe these affirmations were just as crucial in strengthening Jesus during that trial as all the scripture He quoted. These simple, succinct words need to be spoken by every father to their children. I believe children should hear these words on a regular basis.
1. You are my child
2. I love you
3. I am pleased with you
Every child needs to hear these words because they address the deepest needs children have of their fathers.
1. You are my child – This speaks to one’s sense of belonging. In most cases, when children are born, they take on their father’s name. They come into a home with a sense of identity and belonging. Fatherlessness is one of the biggest problems in our society. Lost children wander around looking for a sense of themselves and in almost every case, it can be traced back to their fathers. God modeled for every earthly father the importance of loudly and proudly acknowledging your children. Jesus identity lay in what His Father defined, so no matter what Satan said of Him, He could be secure in that knowledge of Himself.
2. I love you – Communicating and displaying love is the way bonds are developed in parent/child relationships. A lack of love can immobilize people and cause them to question their worth. Being loved creates a sense of security, lowers stress and fosters emotional resilience. These are all things kids need to become the best version of themselves. Jesus rested in God’s love and knew that no matter what temptation, what trial lay before, His Father had only his best interest at heart.
3. I am pleased with you – God’s love for His child was unconditional, and as much as is humanly possible, ours should be too. Love shouldn’t be based on performance ever, but we can set benchmarks for behaviour. By this I mean, when we instill godly values in our children and they achieve them or work hard at achieving them, we should acknowledge these achievements. God set up a system of earthly and heavenly rewards that are tied to our good work and this is perfectly acceptable for parents. Jesus was said to grow in stature and intellect, and aside from His divinity, I believe that this was a result of his conscientious effort to do the right thing. This is built into us as humans, and if parents can effectively reward their kids for successes, they will continue to be successful adults. God affirmed Jesus in His efforts and this should be a parenting practice for all of us.
These three simple affirmations, spoken by a Father to His Son, set the foundation for the most important event in history. Jesus overcame death because His Father believed in Him. What could our children achieve if these words became internalized truths in their minds and hearts?
I encourage all parents, especially fathers, to start their days by saying these words to their children. “My son/daughter, I love you and have never been more pleased with you.” They may just change the world.