You know that there is a running joke in our culture that men do not talk about their feelings. In movies and TV shows we see women complaining about this behavior. Well, I am here to tell you that I talk about my feelings. That’s all I did this week! And I’m not sure Bridget likes that side of the coin either! This morning Bridget said, “I told people yesterday that we were getting better.” I responded, “Better is a relative term.” That is the fact of the matter isn’t it? Perspective is what we have to work with. Compared to Thursday I am doing ‘better.’ Compared to the Thursday before I am miserable. In athletics, teams are compared to other teams in their division. They may be a “great team” in the NFC West, but a terrible team in the NFC East. Great is a relative term in that situation. You may look at a women and say, ‘She is a wonderful mother.’ Wonderful is relative to what? Her children, her household, honestly – other mothers…
Words, and especially titles, are relative. Relative to Bridget my designation is husband. Relative to this church my designation is pastor. Relative to my parents my designation is son.
We run into this at the end of the section we covered last week about Jesus’ baptism.
This will be the main text of the sermon again this morning.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Matthew wants to focus on Jesus in this text. There were others surely there, remember John baptized Jesus and there were crowds gathering at the Jordan. The focus is not on the multitudes who would have witnessed this great event. The focus is not on John the Immerser of whom Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
The FOCUS is on JESUS. HE had been baptized…JESUS came up…opened to HIM…HE saw..
The word “immediately” tells that all of these splendid things described happened almost simultaneously. Jesus is immersed, comes out of the water and IMMEDIATELY the sky is ripped open, the Spirit descends, and a heavenly voice shouts out.
“The heavens were opened” recalls many OT and even NT visions. Ezekiel 1:1 says, “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions[a] of God.” ALSO SEE Isaiah in 64:1-6.
“Like a dove” is a simile (a comparison using like or as). It could mean that the manner of descent was like a dove or it could mean the form was like a dove. This is the only place in Scripture that presents this type of picture of the Holy Spirit.
“Voice from heaven” Intertestamental Period was about 400 years (traditionally understood). God was not speaking first hand to man and there was no Scripture being written. And…suddenly…a voice came from heaven! After all the silent years, a voice from heaven calls out…into the darkness, light bursts forth! “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON!!!”
“This is My beloved Son” The title Son of God is introduced and is immediately picked up in the next chapter. This again confirms the notion that Jesus is Israel fulfilled. The actual Israel was point to Christ who is the true Israel. The OT language of Israel as God’s son is now applied to Jesus. That He was “Beloved” (past tense- literally “with Him I was well pleased”) means that the Messiah was pre-elected. And I would go as far to say that the Son is eternally beloved of the Father (God is love).
In this text Jesus does not “become” the Son of God, but is “identified” as the Son of God. It is a relative term. He has now been marked out for the work of the Father. He has been commissioned with the salvation plan. The language of the Spirit marking Him is the language of anointing. Jesus is now anointed the Messiah-King, come to save His people. From the many years of history's silence God has spoken, "This is My beloved Son."
Know this: God has not forsaken us and is never unfaithful to His promises! Out of the silence His voice breaks forth, into the darkness His light bursts!