Christ’s baptism and transfiguration were two milestone events in His ministry. The first, baptism, marked the inauguration of His ministry. After that event, Jesus would leave His quiet life as a resident and carpenter in Nazareth to begin to reveal His true identity as Savior and Son of God and to embark on His God-given mission. The second, transfiguration, served as a glorious revelation of His nature. His conversation with Moses and Elijah about His departure must have somehow prepared Him for what would soon unfold in Jerusalem…from His crucifixion to His ultimate ascension.
More than merely being milestone events, these two experiences had something else in common. Both, you see, were occasions on which the Father affirmed His Son. I have struggled with the question, “Did Jesus really require affirmation from God the Father?” After all, He was God. Certainly, He didn’t struggle with things like self-worth or need to be reminded of His value. Meanwhile, I find myself arguing back that He was also man. His struggle in Gethsemane in the final hours prior to His crucifixion where His sweat was like blood and when an angel came to strengthen Him seem to imply that affirmation was not such a bad idea or not.
Regardless of whether Jesus required affirmation or not, we do know that the Father openly offered to Jesus the kind of affirmation that we all long for. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (Matthew 17:5 NIV) His Father spoke warmly of their relationship (“my Son”). He unashamedly gave assurance of His affection (“whom I love”). He pointed out the joy that He found in Jesus (“with him I am well pleased”). And He also gave validation to the ministry of Jesus to others (“listen to him”).
The Father has given me a good example of the kinds of affirmation I should generously and honestly offer to those around me.
And you know what? Even when I long for additional human affirmation, I have this crazy good assurance from John: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a NIV)
I have the same assurance of relationship and affection from the Father that Jesus received.