After His baptism, Jesus came up out of the water, and His Father spoke over Him.
We would do well to pay attention to His words, because they hold a key for our own lives.
God said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
In those few words, God spoke identity over His Son. He proclaimed that this was His beloved Son. The voice that spoke the universe into existence was now speaking identity.
But Jesus was perfect, right? He didn’t need His Father to say that, because He knew full well who He was, right?
I don’t believe that God wastes words. Obviously, these words benefited all who heard them. God Himself was proclaiming that this guy before them was actually His Son.
But immediately after this, something else happened. The Holy Spirit whisked Jesus off to the desert for 40 days of temptation. The Bible records three specific temptations, and they all deal with identity.
“If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
“If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down [from the temple].”
“I will give You [the kingdoms of the world] if You will fall down and worship me.”
First, Satan directly challenged Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. Twice. The third temptation also attacked Jesus’ identity as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He already sat in authority over the kingdoms of the world (Daniel 4:25). But Satan tempted Him to doubt that authority and try to gain it by worshiping Satan.
Since Jesus was a perfect human who never sinned, I don’t believe that He had to have God proclaim His identity in order to withstand these temptations. But I find it fascinating: God proclaimed that Jesus was His Son, right before the devil challenged Jesus about His identity.
Now, I’ve never heard an audible voice proclaiming that I am God’s child, and you probably haven’t either. But that’s okay. God gave it to us in the Bible:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1-2, NIV)
There it is, in black and white: I am a child of God! Because “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). All we have to do is believe in Jesus and we become God’s children!
This is where faith comes in.
When you boil it down to the core, “identity” starts with something really simple: believing, in your heart, that you are a child of a perfect Heavenly Father who loves you infinitely. It’s a matter of faith. Real faith.