You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)

I remember the story of a Danish King during the reign of Hitler, when Nazism spread like wildfire across Europe. Hitler told him to issue a decree whereby all the Jews in the country would publicly identify themselves by wearing a yellow arm band with a star of David on it. This Danish king knew that anyone so identified would be rounded up and sent to the death camps. He also knew the danger of disobeying Hitler’s orders. So, when he issued the decree, he wore a yellow arm band with a star of David on it, although he was not Jewish. The whole people in that kingdom already knew what to do. The next day, everyone in the country, both Jews and non-Jews alike, wore the required arm band. That was how solidarity with those condemned to die resulted in life for all. It sounds an interesting story. Right? That’s exactly what Jesus did as his first act while in the world.

In Hebrew 1:2, the unknown writer pointed out that in the past, God spoke to our fathers through the prophet, but in these days, he spoke to us through his son. On the baptism of the Lord, God said, I do not want anyone to speak for me on this particular most important and foundational message of the gospel. I want to speak it myself. He chose to do the proclamation, himself, “And a voice came from heaven, you are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” That is how important and central this message is. In fact, this is the gospel. God so much loves us that even though he is sinless, he chose to stand shoulder to shoulder with us as sinners, in the person of Jesus Christ. He went to be baptised, even when he did not need it.

God wants us to know that we are his beloved sons and daughters. And because you are the beloved child of God, you cannot go seeking the Lord with fear and shame. If we fail to get this message, then there is nothing we can achieve in life. Just look at Jesus, he needed to hear this message from the Father before he could start off his public ministry. When he heard this most important message of the gospel, nothing could hold him back in the next three years of his public ministry. He could not be stopped. When he heard that he is the beloved of God, that was when he found his mission, identity, soul and his life’s purpose.

So many of us have allowed our sins or vulnerabilities to deafen them. Thus, they do not hear this voice of the Father telling them, “You are my beloved.” And because they do not hear it from God, they go about their whole life telling themselves that – I am a wonderful person, I am a great person, etc. Of course, when it comes from them, it does not convince them, because they need to hear this from someone higher than them for it to sink in and stay. And because our society is filled up with people who have not had anyone tell them how beloved they are, they go about hurting other people. They are hurting other people because this love is not in them. They are filled with hatred and bitterness.

If we do not get this message today – that we are the beloved sons and daughter of God, there is little or nothing we can achieve. This is what every religion should be tasked with doing – letting people realize how God loves us, no matter our race, religion, culture, nation, etc.