"And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Matt. 3:16, 17.
In these words the Bible records the opening of the most momentous ministry in human history. Christ Jesus had gone to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist—a ritual designed to represent inner spiritual renewal. John had ringingly denounced those who used the ritual only for outward show, without the inner repentance and regeneration needed to prepare one to receive the Messiah. But as Jesus approached him, John was astonished to recognize one who needed no baptism—the Messiah himself. Jesus, however, consented to this outward token of purification and, while doing so, received the visible sign of his divine sonship which was to mark the beginning of his ministry.
Like a theme running through a symphony, this message of divine sonship sounded again and again in Jesus' healings and teachings. This was and is each one's true source of renewal and reformation. Jesus brought to mankind a whole new view of our relationship to God. Not only was he the Son of God, but every individual was and is in truth the child of this same loving Father. As the Apostle John later expressed it, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God .... Beloved, now are we the sons of God." I John 3:1, 2.