Written by: Chris DeWelt
There is no greater encouragement than a word of affirmation from someone that matters.
Just as Jesus was about to begin his ministry, he received as dramatic an affirmation as anyone could ever receive. As he came up, dripping wet, from the water of baptism, and with his cousin John standing with him, the Father spoke.
The Father spoke the truth over the Son.
“This is my son whom I love and with whom I am pleased.”
The baptism of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and the voice of the Father are all recorded by Matthew (3), Mark (1) and Luke (3). They all heard the voice. Peter was standing there watching and listening to all of this. Years later he tells us that “we heard the voice from the Majestic Glory” (2 Peter 1).
Later, the same three Gospel writers, Matthew (17), Mark (9) and Luke (9) record another time that the voice of the Father was heard, speaking over his Son. It was up on the mountain. It was the incredible moment known as “The Transfiguration.”
The Apostle John saw both of these events, but he chooses to let the other Gospel writers tell us about them. However, John (12) does add yet another time that the voice of the Father was heard when Jesus was present. It happened only days before the final events in Jerusalem.
Affirmation, from the only One that matters. And it came at critical times for Jesus.
Three times the Father speaks affirmation over his Son in the Gospels.
- The first affirmation at the baptism was immediately prior to our Lord going into the wilderness where he would face the accuser. In fact the accuser’s words, “If you are truly the Son of God…” leave little doubt as to the significance of the Father’s choice of time and of verbiage that had come at our Lord’s baptism.
- The second affirmation at the Transfiguration on the mountain was while Jesus was in the middle of ministry. He was dealing with those who believed and those who doubted him. He was dealing with disciples that were struggling, at that very moment with a demonic presence at the bottom of the mountain. And, of course, he was dealing with his enemies that constantly questioned his motives, his purpose and his very identity.
- The third affirmation came just days before the trial and the crucifixion. Jesus tells us that “my soul is troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” If there was ever a time to affirm him in his path, this was it.
Affirmation, from the Father to the Son, at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of his ministry. Affirmation, that specifically challenges the lying tongue of the one whose only interest is to kill and destroy. Affirmation, something that we all desperately need as we walk the path with our Savior. Affirmation, the one thing that we so very often fail to give, even when many of us are especially positioned to do so.
Affirmation. It is not just an empty pat on the back. It is doing the works of God in the lives of others. It is so very important.
I grow weary of those that say they do not need it. They are the very ones that need it the most. The Father knew that there was a time and a place to speak.