In Mark's Gospel there is a very brief story of the baptism of Jesus. In just three verses of chapter 1 Mark tells us everything that we need to know about this episode in Jesus' life, including these words in verse 11:
"And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased.""
Jesus himself only entered the story in verse 9 and yet the Father calls Him "beloved" and says that with Jesus, the Father is "well-pleased."
As a father myself I can understand the idea of a child as beloved. Parents often love their children through thick and thin. The children may not do things parents like, but parental love can often endure a great deal of poor behavior from the child. It is the fact of the relationship itself that makes the child beloved in the eyes of the parent.
But what in Jesus causes the Father to be well-pleased at this point in the story? He enters the Gospel in verse 9 and has been baptized. According to Mark Jesus has not done anything else, nor has he said a single word. Well-pleased? Why?
One reason would be the fact that even though we don’t know the details of Jesus' life to this point we do know that it has been lived without sin. 1 Peter 2:22 is one of several places where the Bible teaches that Jesus lived a life free from sin, which would include His entire life before His baptism and public ministry. That in itself would give the Father pleasure.
But I think there is another reason, one which has to do with the vantage point of the Father in considering His Son.
Mark tells us that the voice of the Father comes from the heavens, which, for a moment after Jesus' baptism, have been torn open. We may not understand quite how that "works" but I think it shows us that the Father is speaking from a place where time is eternal, and so the Father sees Jesus in a way that is completely different than what we see, or even what Jesus himself has known to that point in His earthly life.
This is what the Father sees in Jesus. He sees the Son who was present with the Father, from before the very beginning of time. He sees the Son through whom all things were created. He sees the Son who set aside His own glory to enter into a fully human life, beginning that life in the same place of complete dependence that everyone on earth does. He sees the Son living a life that is free of sin and obedient to God at every single step. He sees the Son whose obedience is to the point of laying down His very life in order to bring freedom for every person who would place their faith in God through Him. He sees the Son who is raised to glory and enthroned in heaven. He sees the Son who returns to earth in power and glory, bringing the end to all earthly things and the fulfillment of all of God's eternal plans.
In short, as the Father speaks from heaven to the Son, He sees the Son from before the first verse of Genesis and after the last verse of Revelation. He sees all of creation and redemption, and the presence of the Son, fully obedient to the Father, in every bit of it.
Well-pleased? With all that in view, how could the Father be anything less than well-pleased?
May you know that peace and joy that come when Jesus is your Savior. Your Lord. These things that He has done, which so please the Father, He did not only in love for the Father.
He did them for you.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.