21 When all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized. As he was praying, heaven opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in a physical appearance like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.”

Luke 3:21-22

Written by Carol Vicary from the Brentwood Campus

There are a lot of loud voices around us expressing themselves these days. You don’t have to spend much time on any kind of social media to hear them. Most are using a lot of words to say, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Many are filled with harsh language and hatred. Rarely do we hear love and encouragement. The result is that many of us feel tired, discouraged, spent. We would rather disappear into Netflix than continue to listen. Our hearts are heavy, and our souls wonder if there is hope.

If we believe in Jesus and the good news of the gospel, we might begin to hear a slight whisper of hope. We might take a minute to remind ourselves of what the Bible says. We might go back to the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and remember how it all started, because in that beginning, there was also a voice. This voice said three intentional things that would be the backdrop for the rest of Jesus’ days on earth.

You are my Son. I love You. You please Me.

The New Living Translation says it this way, “You are my dearly loved son, and you bring me great joy.”

Jesus heard these words from His Father at His baptism, and He not only believed them, He spent the rest of His life living them out. His joy was to communicate the same truth to us. The New Testament proclaims without a doubt that Jesus loved people. He left His home and family to travel with a bunch of guys who had no real status and even less power. He touched people that nobody wanted to touch and talked to people no one wanted to talk to. He cried over the death of a friend. He handed a now alive boy back to his mom. He stilled a storm.

As we consider these truths, maybe the loud voices will begin to grow quieter and the quiet voice of Jesus will begin to grow louder. Maybe the storm around us will begin to be still and our troubled hearts will begin to grow lighter.

Is it possible that Jesus wants me to do the same things He did? Does He want me to receive His love and give it to the neighbor who disagrees with me? Does He want me to forgive the one who hurt me and pray for that person? Does He want me to keep going back to the angry atheist who ridicules me and spews hatred toward God? The answer is a loud and joyful “Yes!”

As Jesus nears the end of His time here, He prays for His disciples and for future believers. In John 17:26, He prays, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” Jesus began His ministry assured of God’s love for Him, and He ended it convinced of God’s love for Him.

He wants us to hear that same voice: “You are dearly loved, and you bring Me great joy.”

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How are the thoughts that roll around in your head all day affecting your soul? Take some time today to be more aware of that. How can you make sure you receive hope from God’s Word on a daily basis?
  2. Who are the people who encourage you in your walk with Christ? How can you talk with them more, and how can you encourage them as well?
  3. In what specific ways does Jesus want you to love the people around you, especially the ones who are hard to love, who disagree with you, or who don’t believe like you do?

Missions Prayer
Pray for Amy Fairchild, FNP, our Medical Dental Unit Coordinator. Pray for wisdom as she plans for 2021. Pray for local churches the MDU partners with, that they will steward well the people who have first contact with them through the ministry of the MDU.

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