Names of Christ: Who do you say that I am?
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
This was to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not wrangle or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.
It is clear in the Gospels that Jesus is God’s beloved; that God loves Jesus. When I think of “beloved”, the first image that comes to mind is a child’s stuffed animal or toy. A possession that is so treasured that it is dragged with that child everywhere they go and loved with such fervor. Did you have something like that as child? I remember a stuffed animal monkey named “Monk” that I took with me anywhere that my parents would allow. This is not the toy that is set upon a shelf to be kept pristine and appreciate in value as a collectible. It is the toy that is ragged, dirty, and beat up from constant companionship and abiding love. Jesus is loved by God in that same way. God makes it clear that He loves Jesus and delights in him. The beauty of this name for Jesus is that is exactly how Christ feels about us. We are his beloved. He loves us so much that he is willing to die for us. Our only response can be one of gratitude, love, and dedication.
I wonder what our relationship with God and our faith are like? Is our faith like the precious and well-loved treasure that is dragged with us everywhere and used every day? Or do we set our love for God upon a shelf and only dust it off on special occasions (like Christmas and Easter) or under glass that is only to be broken in emergencies?
Beloved God, thank You for Your unending love for us. Help us to carry Your love with us throughout this day. Strengthen us to show Your love to all we meet and to exhibit care that uplifts others. Help us to share Your love in a way that inspires others to love their neighbors as well. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.