2. The Affirmation of Jesus by the Father and the Holy Spirit
The Baptism of Jesus
In the New Testament there are several references to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. Each account emphasises something quite different. But all indicate that very early in our Lord's public life he was unmistakably affirmed by his Father. St Matthew records how God was heard to say:
"This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."
So, the way our Lord saw his messianic role and destiny was more as a servant than a mighty overlord. This is honored by God the Father. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove further endorsed the Father's affirmation of his Son. He has come to lead by his teaching and his example. This is affirmed before human eyes and ears, for our edification to authenticate the mission and teaching of Jesus as Son of God.
The Transfiguration of Jesus
There is another very significant event which helps us to understand the role of Jesus. At the transfiguration of Jesus, as it is normally called (Matthew 17: 1— 9) we hear God the Father proclaim his unique command: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased Listen to him".
Let's take a closer look as how this incident unfolded...
Six days after Peter had proclaimed to Jesus: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" — our Lord took Peter and James and his brother John with him up to a high mountain where they were alone.
(It is worth noting that this incident occurred on a mountain, we are not sure which, and clearly was intended to be linked with the giving of the Word at Sinai.) In the company of Peter, James and John, the face of Jesus shone as the sun shines, and his clothes became as white as light. For a moment, the three disciples see Jesus as he really is, as he always is: always in a state of prayer and oneness with God.
A cloud of bright light envelops, surrounds , encompasses them all. This is the Shekinah — the cloud of God's presence. It does not hover above nor does it cast a shadow. It embraces them — God's presence touches them. At this point God speaks to them: "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased, listen to him. So Jesus is the revealer of all that God wishes to say to us. Just as God's voice in the cloud at Mount Sinai gave authority to his law (Exodus 19: 9), so now God's voice gives authority to the words of Jesus.
In fear, the three disciples fall to the ground, Jesus touches them, and then speaks to them warmly, "Don't be afraid". They leave the mountainside peacefully, and quietly question Jesus about parts of this amazing experience. They never forgot God's instruction to them: "Listen to him".
In the above incident, our Lord is clearly depicted as the New Moses — the giver of the Word from God. It is the solemn affirmation of the authenticity of Christ's teaching.
In this amazing account God the Father proclaims his one and only New Testament Commandment: "Listen to him". Thereafter, the infant church saw Jesus as the embodiment of all that God wished to say to humanity.
Jesus became not just the voice of God but the message of God. He was seen as the fulfilment of all Scripture. It is not surprising that St. John, when beginning his account of the Gospel, was inspired to call the Son of God the WORD.
For a discussion on the connection between contemplative meditation prayer and Scripture read the article "Listening to Christ The Word".
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