On that faithful day, while John the Baptist was doing the very important holy assignment of Christ’s baptism, Jesus prayed and the heaven opened. Then the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like the dove. Just then, a voice came from heaven and addressing him said, “You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased”. (Lk 4:21-22).
This same voice came again during the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter was overwhelmed by the presence or appearance of Moses and Elijah. So, he immediately made a suggestion to Christ that three tabernacles be built, one for Christ, one for Moses and one for Elijah. But just as he spoke, a bright light overshadowed them and a voice, out of the cloud, said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Mt. 17:1-5).
I want you to note the similarities and the differences between what was said on the two occasions stated above. On the first occasion, the words were directed to Christ himself.
On the second occasion, they were directed to Peter, James and John. It was like God saying to them, “In case you don’t know, this man you are seeing here is My Son. I am proud of Him. You must, therefore, listen to whatever he says and do whatever he wants you to do. Anything he says is correct”. What a wonderful testimony!
However, the message given on the two occasions remains, for all intents and purposes, the same. The bottom-line is that Christ is the Son of God. Not only that, he was the beloved of the Lord. My interest this morning is on the word “beloved”
I do not want to depend on the dictionary definition of the word. I also do not want to depend on what I found from the Solomon’s Song of Songs. I will rather say that someone who is beloved to you is someone you are so happy with, someone you will see and your heart leaps in joy, someone you can trust as much as you can trust yourself and sometime, more than yourself. This is the sense in which the word was used in the scriptures above.
Actually, the word “beloved” is not a word to be so lightly and frequently used. But these days, the word is put to wrong use and abused. Some people, unfortunately, now think that your beloved is someone you can derive some bodily pleasure from. This is very far from what the word should be.
The word “beloved” comes from the heart, right inside of it. Your beloved is someone you cannot toy with, someone you can even give your life for. Remember, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for it, so that whoever believes in Him shall not die, but have eternal life (Jn. 3:16). So, in the real sense, we are the beloved of the Lord. What then is my worry?
My worry is that the word “beloved” in its true sense is gradually fading away. It may still be there in the dictionary but what about what happens in practice?
Can someone, these days, look at his brother and call him “my beloved brother” from inside his heart? I doubt that this is possible but where it is possible, it is of very insignificant proportion.
What I think we have now are more of brothers like Cain. They will lure you into the field and stab you to death before you know it. Moreover, when they are asked your where about their response will be, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” That is the problem!
We no longer have brothers who are prepared to be their brother’s keepers. We have more of brothers who can only call you brother when they are sure of what they can get from you or what they are getting from you. Once they cannot get those things, their names automatically change to Cain.
Again, how many spouses can say today, from their hearts, “my beloved husband” or “my beloved wife”? I know of those good days when we grew up, a time when a man would be so impressed and intoxicated by his wife’s general behavior, beauty and comportment that he would give him such befitting pet name as “Omasiridiya”, an Igbo word meaning “beloved of the husband” or “Nwannediya”, another Igbo word meaning “husband’s sibbling”. Can it happen these days?
These days, a man becomes the beloved of his wife when the wife is skimming for something, like how to get money from him to buy the latest wrapper in the market or when the man plays a fool to her whims and caprices. Any day he says no, he will become a Samson while his wife will become a Delilah (Jdg. 16:1-22).
The same thing happens when a wife refuses to take her husband’s drunkenness, laziness, adultery any more. If she closes her eyes to those things, she will become a beloved wife. But if she opens her eyes to resist them, her name would be changed from “beloved” to “worthless” or “useless”
What about your children? How many of them can truly call you my beloved father or mother even when you call them “my beloved children”? David called Absalom “my beloved son”. It was this same Absalom who planned to kill him and take over power from him. Even after he died, David still wept so bitterly for him (2 Sam. 18:33).
Do we not have children these days who would do everything possible to facilitate the death of their fathers? These are the Absaloms of our time. May be, they become Absaloms because they are interested in their fathers’ positions, wealth or even younger wives! Have you not heard of children who use their parents for rituals? Have you not heard of children who cause their parents to be kidnapped for ransom?
If I had the opportunity, brethren, I will post an obituary of the word
“beloved” in the electronic and print media. I will post it on internet because its death has given birth to a lot of evils in our world today. For instance, many murders occur today because of the death of that word.
Again, the death of that word is the mother of “419” or cheating today. You cannot look at your business partner today and call him “my beloved business partner” because by the time you look the other way and look back at his direction, he would have swindled you or manipulated you out of the business.
It is the same in all facets of life and society. In the church, the man you call your beloved pastor will make amorous advances at your wife before you know it. The one the pastor even calls “my beloved parishioner” may even be the one to lead him into temptation. Where do we go from here? Is it in government that it is better?
Think of how many people you have called your beloved president or governor before? How did they fare? It is pains on the masses with unpopular polices and unrestrained selfish looting of what belongs to the rest of the society, which they swore to protect.
God called Jesus Christ His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. In turn Jesus Christ did not fail Him. He obeyed Him to the point of death. Is it possible for God to call you “beloved”? You know He was never ashamed to call Abraham and Moses “my servant”. Can He say the same thing of you? If He does, would you serve and obey Him till death? Or will you drop half way?
You know, God may not always announce you through a voice out of the cloud or by the Holy Spirit descending on you like the dove. But He may announce you by bestowing certain talents on you. It may be He decides to endow you with healing power! When He does, what do you do with it? Do you commercialize it or do you just use the power for the sake of bringing glory to His name? Would you build a “miracle centre” for the sake of taking God’s glory unto yourself?
God may have placed you in a position so that you can use it to bless others. What do you do with such position? Do you use it to the detriment of the same people who are supposed to be your beloved?
Brethren, I know some fair-weather friends. They have so many “beloved ones” on the line. You are their beloved when things are well with you. Once you are down, they leave you for another.
I also know some play boys, and play girls. You are their beloved when they are following you bumper to bumper to get what they want. Once they get it, they fly away like an over-fed housefly. What it means is that we need to be careful who calls us beloved. Being beloved is for all times and not temporary or conditional!
There is something I want us to do at this juncture. I want us to answer some all important questions. I want us to answer the questions, “Is it possible for someone to truly call me beloved? Is it possible for my God, my spouse, parents, children, pastor, parishioners, friends and business associates to call me “beloved”, just like God called Jesus Christ “my beloved”? Will they call me beloved when I am alone with them, and not feel ashamed to do the same in the presence of people?”.
Brethren, I do not know where you are now and what you are doing there. If Christ comes and sees you doing what you are doing now, can he possibly say, “You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased?”
If we give genuine thoughts to the above questions and the answers are in the negative, then something is wrong, and something needs to be done so urgently. We must begin to do afresh all those things that will restore and inspire confidence of both God and man in us. We must do everything with moderation and the fear of God. We must respect other people’s feelings. If we are leading, we must lead with love and righteously, so that people will rejoice. If we are following, we must follow with obedience to all lawful things. We must do justice to all manner of people without fear or favour, learning at all times to call a spade its true name, namely, a spade, not farming implement, which will include hoes. We must be kind and patient with others. We must make ourselves trustworthy. These are some of the important things people will see in us and call us “beloved”.
God said to Jesus, “You are My beloved Son; in you I am well pleased”. Well pleased? Yes, well pleased! With you, my mind is at rest and peace. I trust you can do what I want you to do! I am happy about or with you. May we be of such value to God and to man in Jesus name. Amen!