Jesus believed that He was loved by the Father. I am certainly not the first to reflect on this reality, but there are some things to say about this from my perspective. Jesus’ primary identity was grounded in the truth that He was loved by the Father. Two instances stick out to me. The first, the Father speaking audibly to Him as He came out of the Jordan. “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:9-11) What had the Father so excited here? After all, Jesus hadn’t even begun his public ministry, he hadn’t done one single thing to “earn” the Father’s love, yet he hears those incredible words directly from Him.
The second instance comes near the end of Jesus’ life on earth. “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.” (Jn 13:3-4) What I see in this is that Jesus knew exactly who he was. He was so confident in who He was that he was able to take on the ultimate role as servant. He identified himself primarily as one who was loved by the Father.
It would seem from these two scenes that our journey of becoming like Jesus would be primarily about our coming to know that we too are loved by the Father. For so long I have believed that the journey of the Christian faith was about getting to Heaven. “Being saved” is the goal, and Heaven is the reward. I don’t think that’s the case. Maybe that’s part of it, but what if this whole thing is about coming to know that we are loved? If that begins to sink in then everything changes. The goal is no longer to try not to sin, but instead to know a little more today that I am loved by the God who created me. If that becomes central then I have a grounding for my day. If I can roll out of bed and allow 1 John 3:1-2a, “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. 2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.”, to sink into my being then maybe that is what becoming like Jesus is all about.