b. The affirmation of the Father
In verse 11 Mark tells us that “a voice came from heaven.” And this voice said: “you are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” This is clearly the voice of God the Father, and He is affirming the fact that Jesus is His Son with who he is well pleased. Additionally, this is confirmation that Jesus is the chosen Messiah. In Isaiah 42:1 the Lord spoke through Isaiah and described the coming Messiah in this way:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
This is very similar language to what we find in Mark. In fact, the second half of this verse goes onto say:
I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
From this we see that the Father will be pleased with the Messiah, and will put His Spirit upon Him. This is exactly what we find in Mark, and confirms that Jesus is the Messiah and that the dove was the Holy Spirit. Because of the significance of this statement it deserves a closer look.
The Father first says that Jesus is His beloved Son (Psalm 2:7). In this we find one of the clearest examples of the biblical teaching of the Trinity. That is, there is one God who exists eternally in persons—The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Each member of this Trinity is God, and as such possesses the Divine nature along with all of its attributes. Each member is equally God in every way; however each is also a distinct personal expression of that Divine nature. So there is one God expressed in three persons. Therefore, when the Father declares Jesus to be His son it means that Jesus is a part of this Trinity—He is God. He existed along with the Father and the Spirit in eternity past, and all three possess the same Divine nature. Although He is of the same nature as the Father and the Spirit, the Son is distinguished by his role (as is the case with each member of the Trinity). Specifically, the Son role is distinguished by His submission to the Father. In this case this submission is seen in Jesus’ willingness to take on the limitations of man in order to make salvation available. It is because of this submission that the Father also says that He is “well pleased with the Son.” Before the foundation of the world the Father chose the Son to be the Messiah who would come and save sinners from wrath. The Son accepted this ministry, and publicly submitted Himself to it by being baptized. This of course pleased the Father, and He in turn publicly anointed the Son with the Holy Spirit to confirm Jesus to be the Messiah and equip Him for His work. This is quite an amazing passage, because in it we get to see the inner-workings of Trinity – all three persons working together for our salvation. In light of this work it is not surprising that Paul would pen these words in Ephesians 1:3-14:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.