Let’s begin with Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river as he began his ministry. Scripture tells us: “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. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matt 3:16-17)
Keep in mind that Jesus has done no miracles yet, he has not preached a sermon; he has not healed anyone. Jesus has not done anything of significance and God the father is pleased with him, because he is his son. Jesus is fully and completely accepted by God the Father.
In our culture we often value people based on what they do, their success, skills and accomplishments We generally must earn our credentials and have experience before we are recognized in society. Yet, God the Father does not wait until Jesus has accomplished something to give this statement. Jesus has no degrees, no credentials, no experience, a slim resume. At this point most people would probably not hire Jesus as Messiah, let alone pastor of the local church. In fact, a lot of people who observed Jesus personally rejected him as messiah. However, because of his relationship with his father Jesus does not have to prove anything. Jesus ministers out of his relationship and acceptance from the Father.
Just as Jesus lived out of the Father’s acceptance, every person is accepted just as they are because God loves you. The starting point is Jesus’ love for you, it is not determined based on your performance or achievements. We may often wonder what people think of us but we never need to wonder how Jesus feels about us. How would your life change if you were to live out of the acceptance that you already have in Jesus, rather than trying to earn it?
Our identity is rooted in Jesus because we are created in his image. Just let the words of this passage in Ephesians sink in:
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Eph 1:3-14)
It is easy to say we are accepted by Jesus, but harder to practice. For myself I say, does God value me because I’m a pastor, because of what I do? Does God value me because of who I know or who likes me? The answer is no, God does not value me because of what I do or who I know. He values me because I am his son. What I do is important, but it does not determine my identity. My family and friends, my relationships, are important, but they do not determine my identity. My success or failure does not affect God’s view of me. Pleasing people or not, does not affect my value in God’s eyes. As we live in the place of acceptance we can truly begin to understand what it means to follow Jesus.
Let’s continue looking at the father-son relationship between Jesus the Son and God the Father. “Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” (John 5:19-20). The father loves the son and their relationship is based on this love. Jesus never did anything that was not in the Father’s will and purpose. If Jesus, who was fully God and fully man, did only what he saw the Father doing; I think this tells us something about how we are to live our Christian lives.
As a parent of a toddler it is amazing to see how much our daughter learns just from watching and observing us. Many times she learns something from us without us having ever intentionally taught her that thing. She simply learns from us by living with us and observing what we do. As we live with Jesus and spend time with him, we will more and more naturally find ourselves following his lead and living out of his love and acceptance of us.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here. If you walk away with one thing know that Jesus loves you just as you are. You are accepted because you are a child of Jesus. As one who is accepted by Jesus you are invited into his presence to learn from him and to follow him. Just as Jesus followed God the Father, choose to follow Jesus, spend time with him, and trust him. He will never abandon you and he will never lead you astray.
 Barker and Kohlenberger III eds, Expositors Bible Commentary Abridged Edition: New Testament, 1994, pg 312