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When Jesus was baptized, the heavens open, God the Father’s voice is heard, and the Spirit descends in the form of a dove. This was highly unusual — it happened only one other time that all three Persons of the Trinity reveal themselves this way, on the Mount of Transfiguration.

The dove and the voice attest that Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being. Now, nobody has ever seen God. They can’t. He lives in unapproachable light, the radiance of his perfection driving away all else before it. John says the same thing in his gospel: “no one has ever seen God.” That’s why it’s so crucial that we see Jesus. That’s why it’s so important that Jesus is attested so strongly and visibly by God that he is God. We can’t see the Father. We can’t see God as he truly is because he’s a spirit. We could not bear to see him in his glory. But we have seen Jesus. Therefore let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. We see God walking among us, being baptized like we are, dealing with all the same problems and heartaches and disappointment and pain that we do. We see him treading the bank of the river Jordan – descending as a dove from an open heaven – hear him as a great voice full of love and pride from the sky.

And God is not just up in heaven, far away from us. He is revealed among us. Jesus was one of us, human just as we are. We don’t have a God that doesn’t care about us, that is distant or oblivious to us and our plight, our sufferings, our reversals of fortune; quite the contrary. God is not far away and too high and holy to care about us and our lives here on earth. No, he is here with us and close as the air that fills your lungs. And he wants it that way. He involved himself in our history and our messy world and became what we are so that we might become what he is. We are wretched, sinful, an object of wrath; he is holy, pure, spotless, forever blessed. He was counted as polluted and corrupt that we might become pure and holy. We are clothed with his righteousness when we are baptized into his holy name.

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