“This is my beloved Son, in whom I have shown my good will; hear ye him” (Matt. 17:5).
God Himself spoke these words out of heaven into the ears of the three pre-eminent disciples on Mount Tabor, where the Lord Jesus climbed up and was transfigured in front of them. The heavenly Father also spoke these same words concerning the Lord Jesus after He has baptized in the river Jordan. They are attested by the divine Apostles and Evangelists for our assurance. But Isaiah the prophet also prophesied in a spirit of God:
“Behold, here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved one, to whom my soul hath shown its good will. And in his name shall nations trust“ (Matt. 12:18 and 21).
All that need be said, therefore, is that our Lord Jesus Christ is well witnessed as the beloved Son of God, in whom God showed His good will, and whom it is incumbent upon us to obey. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I have shown my good will; hear ye him”. Let us analyze the divine words, and let us consider them thereafter in their totality, in order to commune with the divine meaning which is couched therein.
“This is my beloved Son”. In these words the heavenly Father commends our Lord Jesus Christ as His own Son, meaning thereby that He is His Son whom he had previously announced through the prophets, and whom the nation was expecting. For more than a thousand years prior to this time, before the Lord Jesus Christ had yet appeared, God had been promising through Nathan the prophet to the royal prophet David:
“I will raise up thy seed after thee, who shall be from thy belly. I will be his father, and he shall be my son” (II Sam. 7:12 and 14).
Isaiah the prophet said in a shouting voice:
“For unto us a child hath been born, unto us a Son hath been given, whose government is upon his shoulder; and his name shall be Messenger of a Great Design. For I will bestow peace upon the rulers, and health upon him. Great shall be his government and of his peace there shall be not limit. Upon the throne of David, and his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with judgment and righteousness henceforth and for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do these things” (Isa. 9:6-7 – Translation from Greek Septuagint).
When the fullness of the time (Gal. 4:4) came for the zeal of the Lord of hosts to do these things, He sent forth His angel to the Virgin, and told her:
“Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, lo, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bring forth a son and thou shalt name him Jesus. He shall he great, and shall be called the son of the Most high; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house or Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:30-33).
This having been finished to the glory of the honesty and morality of the true God, behold what St. Paul says in reference thereto:
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to he an apostle, ordained unto the gospel of God (which he had promised aforetime through his prophets in the holy scriptures) concerning his Son (born of seed of David in flesh and appointed a Son of God in accordance with a spirit of sanctity, as a result of resurrection from the dead) Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:1-3).
Witness, therefore, was borne to the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God through the prophets; He was introduced as such directly by the heavenly Father from heaven; and he was appointed and designated as such, furthermore, by virtue of the power and action of the Holy Spirit, by virtue of the resurrection from the dead, as St. Paul and history both affirm. We are certain, therefore that in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ we behold the Son of God. This certitude pleases God exceedingly, for it is precisely on this account that He introduces the Lord Jesus to us as His Son, to wit, in order that we may recognize Him as such; accordingly, we have no reason whatever to refuse this recognition the recognition, that is to say, of a fact which has been so abundantly proved.
With reference, then, to the quotation at the head of this chapter: “Beloved.” The prophets too who spoke about Him characterize the Son of God and our Lord as “beloved,” as did His heavenly Father in the utterance quoted hereinabove. Our Lord Jesus Christ, indeed, is beloved of God the Father, not only because He is an essence of His essence, a visible body that is the exact image of the invisible God, an effulgence of the glory and an express stamp of His substance as a God, but also because he became a humble human being exhibiting perfect obedience in the execution of His design, of all the wishes of God, as no man had ever done before and as no man has ever done after Him, faultless, unwilling to have anything to do with the Devil, holy “of transcendent beauty.” All other human beings from the very first one created have disobeyed God and have been tainted by the Devil; the Lord Jesus Christ alone remained from beginning to end impeccably obedient to God. On this account He is the beloved Son of God. “This is my beloved Son”.
“In whom I have shown my good will.” So pleasing to God, so beloved, is our Lord Jesus Christ that in Him God hath shown His good will to us. All we human beings are under wrath and sentence to perdition both on account of the original sin and on account of our own personal sins. But the Lord Jesus Christ is the beloved Son of God who has perfectly and completely gratified and has thoroughly satisfied divine justice by virtue of His obedience even unto death on a cross, which the Devil unjustly brought about. It is is for this reason that the heavenly Father showed His good will in Christ. What good will did He show? Our salvation and bliss, which, of course, depend on His good will. God has had the good will through the kindness of Christ to grant us condemned ones an amnesty, and besides this also grace of Holy Spirit for our enlightenment and sanctification, for progress in good deeds and in virtues, and for our deification. That behold, is the good will shown us in Christ by the heavenly Father, who is forever blessed. But he showed this good will on condition that we believe in and obey Christ.
“Hear ye him”. The introduction, “This is my beloved Son,” and the statement , “in whom I have shown my good will” demands of us recognition and belief. The commandment, “hear ye him,” on the other band, asks for obedience and submission. Faithfulness and obedience to Christ, the beloved Son of God, is what the good will shown by the heavenly Father in Christ requires of us. But why does God require these things of us? Why does He want us to believe in Christ as the beloved Son of God and to submit to Him? Because it is only thus that the good will of God can devolve upon us: only thus can we become altogether like the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to become also and likewise beloved children of God, and heirs to the divine blessings.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he authority to become children of God to them that believe in his name” (John 1:12).
Moreover, he says in his First Epistle:
“Beloved, now are we sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we do know that, if be should appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
This everlasting grandeur of ours, however, can be achieved by no other means than by faithfulness and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the beloved Son of God and who alone knows how to make us beloved sons of God like mm. On this account the heavenly Father imposes upon us faithfulness and obedience to Christ out of His extreme goodness and benevolence, by saying: “This (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) is my beloved Son in whom I have shown my good will: hear ye him.”
This, indeed, is a supreme law expressing the supreme wish of God; a law sanctioned with both a reward and a penalty : for it says,
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
It is the basis of Christian legislation, the fundamental law of Christianity, the fundamental law of the Christian Church. If this law be taken away or annulled, the entire edifice will fall to the ground. Through belief in Christ as the Son of God and obedience to Him all other things can be accomplished, but nothing without this law. By observing the fundamental law spoken of here we can acquire all the virtues of Christ, and by them we are enabled to become like Him and are made co-heirs to His life and glory and kingdom. Those, on the other hand, who disregard this divine law of belief in Christ and of obedience to him, failing to acquire any virtue, bear the burden of all the vices of the Devil, becoming wicked and depraved and fit only to be fed to the flames of the unquenchable fire. The logical conclusion to be drawn from these facts is, therefore, that Jesus Christ is constituted by God the criterion of human beings. Everyone that has become like Christ by virtue of faith and obedience is beautiful and pleasing to God, and beloved, deserving everlasting life and an everlasting kingdom. But everyone that remains unlike Christ by reason of faithlessness and sinfulness is utterly ugly and is loathsome in the eyes of the Lord, deserving the outer darkness.
The laying down of this law is alone what expresses God’s infinite goodness to us. For the Lord Jesus Christ is the second co-eternal person of the Holy Trinity – the God Logos actually incarnate, the most perfect Logos of the most perfect Mind manifested as a human being. It is the Logos Himself that the supreme Mind, the heavenly Father has as a law and principle of His own action. He made everything through the Logos, and without the Logos made He nothing. So, when He subjects us to the same law to be obeyed, how can it be denied that He is not seeking to equalize our volition to His? Is He not seeking to make us gods? God’s love for us is proved to he infinite by the laying down of this law of faith in Christ and of obedience to Him.
“ For God so loved the world that he gave his only – begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
But whosoever believeth not shall perish. For how can God tolerate anyone that disregards this law and fails to believe in and obey the Logos, who became manifest as a human being through the process of incarnation and whom even the heavenly Father Himself has as the try square of his action? Whoever does not believe can never see the face of God – whoever fails to obey the Lord Jesus Christ who, besides other things, has a right to obedience, because He was the first and only one that obeyed God perfectly. For this reason He was given the right to discipline all others, every and all authority in heaven and on earth. Any nation, any dominion, any community, any society, and any individual that fails to obey Christ is surely on the road to perdition. But those who believe in and obey Christ shall reign with Him as kings and share in His cheerfulness forever, and they will be grateful to Christ together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, our blessed God in the Trinity, to whom be the glory and the worship forever.