Daily Devotion – February 22, 2021 – Pastor Brian Hansen

Mark 1:9-15 

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” 

There is nothing that I can think of that feels as good as knowing that your parents are proud of you.  I’m so very thankful to have wonderful parents who express their feelings of love and pride for me and for my family.  It seems to me that there is just something profoundly powerful about declaring to a child just how proud you are of them.  I know that far to often I tend to keep my emotions fairly close to the vest.  However, nothing will make me tear up quicker than a movie where a father acknowledges how proud he is of his son.   

In our Gospel reading this week, we see that Jesus has been baptized by John in the Jordan and just as he is coming out of the water, he sees the heavens torn apart and then hears his father declare “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  What really grabs my attention today is that God makes this declaration before Jesus has done anything.  This kind of affirmation might make sense if Jesus had begun his ministry and was healing the sick and bridging the divide between insiders and outsiders.  However, Jesus hasn’t yet begun his ministry. 

And so, I think that what this Gospel reading is ultimately trying to communicate to us, has less to do with God’s response to our work and more about our identity as God’s beloved. There is a power in identity!  There is a power in knowing not only who we are but more importantly who’s we are.  The claiming identity that we have in Christ roots us in the confidence that because we are claimed as God’s beloved, we made free to live our lives in the certainty of that promise. 

Our ways of defining ourselves and interacting with our neighbors certainly matters.   But those definitions are not as important as our identity as God’s beloved child.  For it is our identity as God’s beloved that grounds us in our connectedness to each other and it is that identity that helps us to see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.  

Let us pray:  God who creates and claims us, help us to be rooted in the sure and certain knowledge of you love.  Guide our living to reflect that love to those around us and to the world that you so love.  AMEN.