"As soon as Jesus was baptized he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." - Matthew 3:16
"Over the heads of her students, Morehouse holds a crown that she challenges them to grow tall enough to wear."
These words of the renowned theologian Howard Thurman have served as a clarion call to summon the best from incoming Morehouse College students for the past several decades. There is something powerful about seeing greatness in someone before that person even realizes how great they are.
According to Matthew's gospel, before Jesus performed any miracles . . . before he interceded on behalf of the weak and the afflicted . . . before he offered himself as a ransom for the sins of many . . . Jesus was affirmed by God. And the power of that affirmation prior to Jesus' performance is precisely what guided Jesus' performance.
It's one thing to be challenged to become something good. But the more powerful challenge is to realize the good that you are, and be inspired to realize its full capacities.
Jesus taught us that realizing God's kingdom (kindom) is all about recognizing what God has placed within us. There are crowns and crosses over each of our heads and within each of our hearts. The question is: 'Will we allow ourselves to grow into the full measure of our being?'
Sin is the denial and the neglect of who we are.
Marianne Williamson put it this way: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."
God let our baptism be the affirmation that guides our performance. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.