Baptism and Temptation (from Jesus: A Gospel)
Becoming the beloved means letting the truth of our belovedness become enfleshed in everything we think, say, or do. It entails a long and painful process of appropriation or, better, incarnation.
Affirmation as the Beloved
I very much believed that the core moment of Jesus’ public life was the baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus heard the affirmation, “You are my beloved on whom my favor rests.” That is the core experience of Jesus. He is reminded in a deep, deep way of who he is. The temptations in the desert are temptations to move him away from that spiritual identity. He was tempted to believe he was someone else: You are the one who can turn stone into bread. You are the one who can jump from the temple. You are the one who can make others bow to your power. Jesus said, “No, no, no. I am the Beloved from God.” I think his whole life is continually claiming that identity in the midst of everything. There are times in which he is praised, times when he is despised or rejected, but he keeps saying, “Others will leave me alone, but my Father will not leave me alone. I am the beloved Son of God. I am the hope found in that identity.”
- Who am I? What is my calling? What is God’s will for me?
- How have my decisions in fighting off or in cooperating with temptation, led me further or closer to my calling or God’s will?
- What can I do today to do God’s will more closely?