At the moment when he came up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice spoke from heaven: “Thou art my son, my beloved, on thee my favour rests.” (Matthew 3, 16 – 17 )
At this incident at the river Jordan Jesus was a bit more than 30 years old, when he was baptised by John. So he was not at all a child any longer. Then what has this passage of the Bible got to do in a series about children? What strange things happened there at all at the river Jordan?
There is another passage in the New Testament where God spoke out of a cloud. Accompanied by three of his disciples Jesus climbs on a mountain, a strange light comes over him and two persons appear, and he speaks with them. Then this cloud from above comes and says:
Out of the cloud came a voice: “This is my son, my beloved, listen to him.” (Mark 9,7)
What cloud and voice was this? In the first case after the baptism God directly addresses his Son Jesus: “You are my beloved son....” What happens in the heart of a son when he hears such words from his father? Some psychologist speak about a “love tank” that every child has and that has to be filled regularly in order that the child may grow up and gain psychical strength. Younger children receive this love by being caressed. In the course of the years this may change into personal attention and verbal expression. In any case all the life through every person need to be told and confirmed that he or she is loved.
For Jesus God was the closest well of love. In many parts of the Gospels we read that Jesus withdrew into loneliness in order to speak with God. From these talks with his Father he gained the strength to manage his life and to bear his death on the cross.
Here shortly before Jesus started to appear publicly God once more filled up the love tank of his son by telling him aloud how much he loves him. This also is a suggestion and encouragement for all parents, teachers, and guardians again and again to tell their children and students that they love them. This gives massive strength to the children no matter how old they are. Also for adults it means an enormous encouragement when their parents tell them that they love them. This is of vital importance for every child, Many depressions that adults suffer from result from the fact that they have not been told enough that they are being loved.
Yet the voice from the cloud has a second reason as well. This becomes especially clear in the other event on the mountain. At the river Jordan as well as up on the mountain Jesus was not alone. Perhaps or rather most probably there had been many more occasions where God addressed Jesus personally; but in these cases Jesus had been somewhere all alone, and thus nobody knew about it. On these two occasions, however, God spoke aloud, and everybody around heard it. On the mountain God even speaks directly to the other men there and not to Jesus. He speaks about Jesus as his beloved Son, and we shall listen to him.
There had been many rumours in those days who Jesus might be, a prophet, a teacher, even a revolutionist? To a selected group of people God directly says that Jesus is his Son. The old scriptures that people in those days had were full of prophecies telling that some day a Redeemer, a Messiah, the Son of God would come. But when it then happened indeed, there were few people only that really believed in him.
What is the situation like today? How many people realise from the bottom of their hearts that Jesus is the Son of God? How many listen to him? Do you belong to them? Still today God speaks to people. In general He does not do it publicly when masses are listening, but He addresses people very personally or perhaps in a group of two or three.