A friend and I were working together the other day digging a ditch for some electrical lines we were installing. This is not one of the most attractive parts of my job as an electrical contractor, but it is one I still enjoy. There is something about men and hard work that brings about the most interesting conversations.
As we began digging this ditch, and, as men for some reason do, we took jabs at each other’s strengths and weaknesses. But, at some point along the way, the conversation changed. He began to tell me about his relationship with his dad and how it is strained right now. I listened as he listed his grievances and why he felt abandoned- even though he grew up in a two parent/Christian home. He said he watched his dad, who is a pastor, spend time with people and speak into their lives words of affirmation. But, he said his dad barely had time for him as a young man, nor did he ever say to him “you have what it takes, you can do this, or I believe in you.”
In Mark 1 we learn of the beginning of the public ministry of God's Son, Jesus: “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
Verse 11, to me, is one of the most emotional verses in the entire Bible because it is God speaking to His Son in front of everybody gathered, publicly affirming him.
I cannot imagine how much this must have meant to Jesus, especially when we consider the trials to come, all of the pain, the sacrifice, and His obedience even to death on the cross. I can only wonder how many times Jesus thought back to the moment when His Dad, His Father, said to everybody, 'Hey, check this out! That's my boy, you see Him?'
When God affirmed Jesus, it was not for making an A on His spelling test in fifth grade rabbi class, or when He scored His first soccer goal, or when He made His first million in business. It was when He was baptized, when He was obedient to scripture. God affirmed Him as He did something spiritual.
Basically, the Father said to the Son publicly, 'I believe in you!’
In Mark Chapter One, right after the Father's affirmation, we find Jesus going into the wilderness to fast and pray. Satan shows up, tempting Him three different times. Immediately following the emotionally exhausting trials in the wilderness, Jesus gathered around him 12 of the most unlikely, overlooked, uneducated people and said:
'If you'll leave what you thought was important, follow me, I will show you what is important. We'll do life together, I'll teach you everything that you need to know and you can totally change the world!'
And that's what they did. For three years, they didn't study a little booklet, or go through a formal class. They just did life together. Jesus taught them as they went. They asked questions; He responded, and He invested in them. At the end of that three year period, one of the most emotional moments in history, Jesus looked at the 11 faithful (Judas had betrayed Him), after He had risen from the dead, and basically said:
‘I've got to go away now, but I am going to send you the Holy Spirit, which is even better than me, because you'll have God the Father in you, and here's your assignment; go into all of the world, baptizing people in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit…teaching them everything that I have taught you. You 11 can change the world! I believe in you!'
And here we are some 2000 years later, and those men DID change the world.
The words we speak give life and have power. Men, are we speaking these life giving words into our sons’ lives?
I believe in you.