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.”
Authority Over Appearance
The Jordan River doesn’t appear particularly impressive. It runs a somewhat straight line for less than 100 miles from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. It isn’t a pure river and doesn’t start in some beautiful glacial mountain but with a heavily fished lake.
Jesus didn’t appear particularly impressive, either. He was not born in a palace in an influential city, but he came from a small town in a poor and mostly forgotten part of the world. He wasn’t wealthy, nor did he command mighty armies to follow him.
When Jesus first appeared to begin his earthly ministry, he looked like anyone else coming to John to be baptized. But, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, this baptism anointed Jesus for the great work he was about to undertake. Jesus was the son of Mary and grew up in Nazareth, but when the voice came from heaven, no one could doubt that this man really was God’s own Son. By appearance, it looked like just a simple man in simple water, but with God’s authority, it was revealed to all that Jesus was God’s chosen servant, the one who had come to bring salvation to the ends of the earth.
You might look in the mirror and see only a failure. You might look back on your life and see many reasons you have given God not to love you. You might be staring at death, and it all appears very final. None of these appearances matter when God speaks with authority. When he says that your sins are forgiven, you can be assured that all your sins have been paid for. When he calls you his child, he has the authority to make you his own. When he promises that everyone who believes in him will live, he has all the authority to bring life and resurrection.
Don’t be fooled by appearances. Trust God’s words of authority.
Gracious Father, help me to walk by faith and not by sight. Lead me to always trust your words as the true authority in my life. Amen.