And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;  and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16–17)
We are told that the approval of our fathers is a deep-seated need all of us. While entire disciplines of counseling are based on this assumption, most of us know this personal experience. The baptism of Jesus is an illustration of the importance of also receiving the blessing of our heavenly Father.
Jesus’ baptism was his public commitment to ministry. More importantly, it was a public commitment as the Messiah. He was committing to a frustrating path that would culminate in abandonment by his Father. Knowing this, God the Father choose to encourage Jesus : “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
The Heavenly Father did not permanently abandon his Son. Instead, the Father raised Jesus from the dead. ) Because of Jesus resurrection, the sins of the world were forgiven. For that reason, we also can receive the blessing of God the Father.
This affirmation from the Father is most powerfully given in baptism. The forgiveness of sins, gift of faith, and reception of the Holy Spirit are the most important gifts in baptism. That said, God the Father’s primary work is creation. In baptism we are receiving the name of our Creator, which is an exceptionally moving experience.
Since many of us do not remember our baptisms, confirmation becomes a key affirmation of God as our Heavenly Father. While not a sacrament, confirmation nevertheless is a moving experience. For so many of us, part of the emotional weight was a sense that God the Father was blessing us.
The congregations I served as pastor offered a nursery for young children during worship services. However, I encouraged parents to keep their children in the sanctuary for as long as possible. I also pleaded with the adult members to accept the sounds of fussy children. I wanted young children to associate acceptance into the sanctuary with the acceptance they received from their Heavenly Father in baptism.
As Christians we are rightly skeptical of diving too deep in the psychology of fathers. However, we also acknowledge that God places within us a desire to know Him as our Heavenly Father. As such, the blessing and affirmation is God the Father is important to us.
(A Second Look devotions are written for the congregations of the Ohio District LCMS.)