Matthew and the Beloved (Mt. 3:13-17)

When Jesus approaches John for baptism, John is horrified. “You are the Master; I’m the servant,” he protests. But Jesus says, “Give in on this one so that God’s plan can go forward.” After John baptized him, Jesus came up from the water and God spoke, making a very clear statement about the divine plan: “This is my beloved Son. My favor is on him. This is the Kingdom. It begins from this moment.”

Here is something that doesn’t  always register: how obvious and direct God was about the kingdom. We think God spoke only in parables and prophecies, but he also spoke directly and definitively in pointing out the Messiah who himself is the coming Kingdom. Perhaps it wasn’t as clear to people at that time, but to us it is just missing the neon lights.

One of the things this incident says to me is that we have had this encounter, too. At our baptism God also said those same words: “This is my beloved. My favor is on him/her. This is the Kingdom. It begins from this moment.” At that moment we each became a son or daughter of God upon whom his favor/grace has come. The Kingdom, namely Jesus the Messiah, is present here in us. The Church/Kingdom is present in us. It begins from this very moment. Yes, the Kingdom has come.

Are your neon lights turned on?