Who is Jesus. Better yet, who does God the Father say that Jesus is?
In Mark 1 we see an image of Jesus being baptized by His cousin John. This is one of only two instances where we see the entire Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in the same place at the same time.
“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the
Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.””
Mark 1:9-11 NIV
To fully understand this passage we must understand some about the rabbinical teachings of that day. Jewish Rabbi’s are still famous for using a method of teaching called “Stringing Pearls”. Which entails stringing together multiple parts of scripture to tell a much larger story.
Jesus was a Jewish rabbi and He often used this method of teaching. For example, when Jesus gave the sermon on the Mount. He said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek.”
To modern Christians, these are lovely affirmations but to the early Jews that Jesus was speaking to these words would have meant so much more. He was “stringing pearls.”
Each of the statements would have reminded the Jewish audience of passages in the Old Testament where God promises to rescue His faithful followers. Jesus was pulling together various scriptures to make one point,
God is faithful.
Ok, but what does that have to do with Mark 1? I’m glad you asked. Apparently, God the Father enjoys stringing pearls as well. When He said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
He was pulling from various well-known scriptures. These Jews would have likely knew the true meaning of the phrase. Again, to us, this is a lovely affirmation but to the Jews of this day, it was the entire gospel in one sentence.
Let’s break it down.
“You are my Son” is from Psalm 2:7 –
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Whom I love is from Genesis 22:2
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
With you I am well pleased is from Isaiah 42:1
“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.
What was God saying?
You must know the context of each passage.
And know the way the people at that time would have understood the passage.
Both Psalm 2 and Isaiah 42 were understood to be powerful Messianic prophesies.
In Psalm 2, God makes a royal proclamation announcing His Son, the King of Kings who would rule over the whole earth.
But in Isaiah 42, God speaks about His servant who was also understood to be the Messiah.
Paradoxically, God’s prophesied Messiah is both a King and a Servant. This passage from Isaiah also proclaims that God’s Spirit is upon His Servant.
How fitting since God says these words as the Spirit descends on Jesus in the Jordan river.
The reference “Whom I love” is drawn from Genesis 22, one of the most memorable scenes in the Old Testament. Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac, his beloved son, out of obedience to God. In Genesis we recognize how big a deal this is because of how precious Isaac is to Abraham. Foreshadowing, the Father’s feelings for His only Son.
When Jesus is baptized in the Jordan, the Father is saying. “Here is my precious Son, my Isaac.” Hinting at the sacrifice He will soon ask of Jesus.
In just three brief quotes from scripture, God speaks of Jesus as a King, a Servant, and His Son who will become a sacrifice.
When God speaks, He packs
into His words.
But also, notice where these three passages come from. Genesis 22 comes from the Torah. Isaiah 42 from the prophets. Psalm 2 from the Psalms. This is the three different sections of the Jewish bible. The early Jews seperated their bible in these 3 partitions sort of how we seperate ours in Old Testament and New Testament. They would have recognized this as being representative of all scripture.
God links together words from the three different parts of the scripture that these Jews had. He is proclaiming that the entire scriptures point to Jesus as their fulfillment. That it is all about Jesus.
Take head today, it is all about Jesus. It all points to Jesus and it’s always been about Jesus. Everything that happened up until today was leading to Jesus coming to free God’s people once and for all. That He would become our Passover lamb, He’d shed His blood for us so that we would be made righteous in God’s sight.
Make this your prayer today.
Father, help me today to see Jesus in everything. Everything my eyes see and everywhere my feet lead, help me to see Jesus in it all. Help me to look to Him for hope, lift my eyes from this broken world and lead me to focus on Jesus.
Thank you God for your love, your sacrifice, for sending your Isaac, whom you loved, for me. Thank you for loving me far beyond what I deserve. Thank you for the breath and life you’ve given me. Lead me to use it well.