What was the central event in Jesus’ life? Obviously, the end goal was going to the cross and resurrecting from the grave. But before all that happened, the key event that set the stage for everything else, occurred in Luke 3:22-

and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

It was the voice of the Father, speaking His divine approval and affirmation over His only begotten Son. We can note that, at this point in Jesus’ life, the Father was well pleased with Jesus before He had done a single miracle, or preached a single sermon in front of the crowds. This was the launching point, and right afterwards the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days (Luke 4:1-2). When Jesus came out of the wilderness, victorious over the devil, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14).

I believe that, for Jesus, hearing the affectionate voice of the Father, and experiencing His Father’s pleasure over Him, gave Him the foundation to overcome the temptations of the enemy, and empowered Him for His 3.5 years of ministry here on the earth. He did not labor to earn His Father’s love, but ministered out of the intimate knowledge that He was already loved and cherished by the Father. Luke 3:22 was the central event in Jesus’ life.

In the same way, for each of us, before we commit ourselves to the “work” of the Lord, to serve Him with our lives, we need to experience the central event for ourselves as well. We need to be still and tune in to the Father’s voice, and realize that He is speaking the same words to each one of us, just as He spoke to Jesus:

“(Your name), you are my beloved son/daughter; with you I am well pleased.”

Even if you are struggling with sin, and mired in its bondage, the Father is still speaking this divine affirmation over you. Why? Because the Father is indeed pleased with you; He is pleased with who you are, because He created you and knows you intimately, and His pleasure over you is not determined by what you do or don’t do in life (your actions), whether good or bad, right or wrong. Yes, our sins hurt our Daddy’s heart, but He knows that when we have truly accepted this affirmation and believe it with all our heart, the truth will set us free from the bondage of sin. The power for us to resist all temptations lies in our intimate awareness of our Father’s love for us.

God is love, and Father God loves each one of us, every moment of our lives.