And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17, NIV
As many of you will recognize, the context of this verse is the baptism of Jesus. He had come to John to be baptized and as He was coming out of the water, the Father spoke audibly to Him. The Father declared that He loved the Son and was well pleased with Him. [in whom I delight - YLT, My greatest delight - Passion, delight of My life - Message]
What was it about Jesus that pleased the Father? He was loved, of course, because He was the Son Who volunteered to become a human being and undertake our redemption. But the delight of the Father in the Son was more than that.
For the first thirty years of His life, Jesus lived an ordinary life. It was so ordinary that people couldn’t believe this Man that they had interacted with for so many years was really the Messiah. There was nothing that really stood out in a supernatural way. [I know through the ages many fictional stories with fantastic miracles have been made up about this period of His life, but they do not match with the testimony of divine Scripture.]
From what we know and can reasonably surmise, Jesus grew up as an average Jewish boy in a small town. He learned the Scriptures and a trade as every Jewish boy did. He became a carpenter. Sometime during this period He probably had to deal with the death of his adoptive father, Joseph, and take over the management of the family. He most likely trained His step-brothers in carpentry and they would have taken over the family business when He left.
Many of the parables that Jesus spoke during His ministry probably reflected His own experiences or His observations of others. He knew what it was like to have to turn the other cheek when being tempted to anger or retaliation. He knew what it was like to share His meagre earthly possessions with the poor. He probably knew what it was like to be threatened with a law suit or to be forced by a Roman solider to carry his possessions for a mile…and then offer to go an extra mile. Jesus was not a theoretical teacher.
So what was it about all this that pleased the Father? Through all the ups and down, the trials and temptations, of ordinary life, Jesus maintained His relationship with the Father and walked in perfect obedience to the Father’s Law and personal instructions. He never once gave into the temptation of bitterness or accusation. His love for and trust of the Father was perfect in the pressures of everyday living.
Be sure to notice something very important. The Father was pleased with Jesus before He began His ministry. It wasn’t His ministry that earned Him the pleasure of the Father. I know I have written about this before, but it is so easy for us to become works focused. It is easy to think we have to do something great to be appreciated by our Father. It is easy to think just because we live “normal” lives that we are some less than the “great” Christians who are doing exploits. Pleasing the Father is maintaining our relationship with Him and being faithful and obedient in all the ups and downs of life. If God leads us into “great” things, fine. if not, fine. The Father enjoys the flowers that bloom unseen on the mountainside as much as those others admire in a garden.