The Beloved

By Francis Frangipane

We have been talking about prayer, Christlikeness, and the future of America. I would like to continue that focus, but look at the manifestation of Christ on earth as it impacts the Father. There is something utterly pleasing to the Father when Christ is revealed. It actually goes far beyond not destroying the wicked; it touches His heart in the depths of His nature.

Thus, to satisfy God, we must perceive what the Son presents to the Father in terms of their relationship. Let us, therefore, consider first the weightiness of having Jesus Christ as our mediator with God.

Jesus says that the Father has loved Him from "before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). The love that exists between the Father and the Son transcends the boundaries of time. Before the ages began or the stars were young; before the earth, man or angels were created, the Father and Son have known only love. Their union within the Trinity is so complete that, though they are two distinct personalities, the Scripture can state with perfect fidelity: "The Lord our God is one God."

During His ministry, Jesus spoke frequently of this love between the Father and Himself. He said, "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand" (John 3:35). Again we read, "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing" (John 5:20). And again, "I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do" (John 14:31).

In Jesus' first public appearance, this love between Father and Son engulfed the scene at the river Jordan. While Jesus was still in the water, "heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, 'Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased' " (Luke 3:21-22).

Do not rush past this phrase, "My beloved Son." Jesus is not just "a son," or even "the Son," He is the Father's "beloved Son." There is no one like Him. Here, in this incredible, inaugural moment, the Father Himself draws near. Almighty God moves from His throne in the highest heaven until His face is at the edge of our physical world. From eternity the Father speaks to His Son: "In Thee I am well-pleased."

Then, the Almighty turns and repeats the identical thought to John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matt 3:17).

Note: in both times that He spoke, the Father could not help but express His love for Jesus. In truth, the Father is consumed with love for His Son.

We do not have a human reference to understand the energy, the passion, and the unrestrained oneness that exists between the Father and the Son. We can only stand and watch in awe, and learn of it. It is the essence of heaven; it is the nectar of eternal life.

"Beloved . . . in Thee I am well-pleased."

The deep, unfathomable perfection of God, the incomprehensible ethos of the divine nature, knows only pleasure in Jesus. The Almighty, who gives to all life, receives life from the Son and is fulfilled to the depth of His being. The Father gazes at His Son and harbors no slight shadow of regret, no lingering wish for someone or something to be done better. We behold God on earth satisfying God in heaven: perfect surrender in the embrace of perfect acceptance.

Their relationship is amazing. Yet, add to it the fact that, prior to this encounter, Jesus had not accomplished any miracles; there were no signs or wonders, no vast multitudes. Outwardly, a carpenter named Jesus came, like everyone else, to be baptized. Until that moment, Jesus' life was unremarkable. He was another woodworker.

How was it that, even in the common tasks of an ordinary life, Jesus drew the praise of heaven? At the core of His being, He only did those things which pleased the Father. In everything, He stayed true, heartbeat to heartbeat, with the Father's desires. Jesus lived for God alone; God was enough for Him. Thus, even in its simplicity and moment-to-moment faithfulness, Christ's life was an unending fragrance, a perfect offering of incomparable love to God.

Privately, the unfolding stream of divine passion from the Father for Jesus never abated; the Jordan was but the first public exchange. We see other references as we proceed through the Scriptures. Look at Matthew's account, chapter 12. Christ's public ministry has begun. Listen to how that which was written from eternity past again describes their holy relationship. Many are following and He is healing them all, yet He bids the multitudes to not make Him known.

In order that what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, might be fulfilled, saying, "Behold, My Servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles." -Matt 12:17-18

Listen to the sacred text, the prophetic word chosen to describe the Father and His beloved. God cannot speak of Christ, or even make reference to Him, without calling Him "My beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased."

One day, indeed, we will gaze upon the face of God's beloved and we will know that to see His face is the highest blessedness of heaven.

Again, look in Matthew 17. On the holy mountain Jesus was magnificently transfigured before three of His disciples. His face shone like the sun. His garments became white as light, flashing like lightning. Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Christ. Into this splendor, Peter nervously presented an idea. While he was still speaking, a radiant cloud formed and then overshadowed the disciples. Out from this living splendor, again, the voice of God was heard:

"This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" -Matt 17:5

The all-knowing, all-wise God, the Creator of heaven and earth, in the only times He has ever spoken audibly to mankind, has said the same thing three times: "This is My beloved Son." In all the unlimited creativity of the mind of God, there is nothing more profound, no greater revelation than to say, "Listen to Him!"

In each occasion that He speaks, the Father returns to glorifying His beloved. We hear this information, we write it down, we think we grasp God's truth; but we do not. We underline but do not understand. Too quickly we seek to move to another insight, but the voice of God brings us back. In the Father's eyes, there is no other truth. We have not genuinely understood who Jesus is, otherwise we would feel as the Father does.

This love within the Godhead is the symphony of the universe. It is what makes heaven heavenly. Even as we are awed by such all-consuming oneness, Jesus asks that each of us, as His disciples, would be included in this holy hymn of heaven. He prays, "O righteous Father . . . I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:25-26).

Jesus prays that the same love, the same overwhelming fulfillment that the Father has in His Son, may also be manifested in us. In other words, God desires that we become as totally consumed with Jesus as is the Father!

What Christ Provides
But this is a book about intercession for America. How, then, does the love between the Father and the Son connect us to America and praying for its need?

To answer that, let me pose this question: What is it, uniquely, that the Father has found in the Son that so fulfills Him? I believe the Son's gift is this: Jesus presents to the Father the opportunity to satisfy His deepest passions and to reveal His highest glory, the nature of which is love.

We see this in Jesus' statement, "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life" (John 10:17). The Son presents to the Father reconciliation between heaven and earth. He allows God to be revealed as He truly is: not a harsh judge but a loving Father.

Perhaps it is incomprehensible to us that God could suffer or feel pain, yet Scriptures reveal that the Spirit of God relates in interactive union with this world. In His eternal nature, the Father sees man's end from the beginning. However, in His relationship with mankind's journey through time, the Scriptures are plain, the heart of God is vulnerable to humanity.

In Noah's day, we read that the Lord was "grieved in His heart" (see Gen 6:3-6). The Psalms revealed that Israel "grieved Him in the desert" (Ps 78:40). The word "grieved" meant to "worry, pain or anger." We know that, when a sinner repents, there is increased joy among angels (Luke 15:7), but what happens in heaven when God is grieved?

You see, the Lord participated vicariously in the suffering of His people. Indeed, in Judges we are told of a time when "He could bear the misery of Israel no longer" (Judges 10:16).

Consider: the Spirit of God was not aloof, separated from Israel's condition. Just as the Spirit hovered over the pre-creation world, so He brooded over Israel, being deeply involved, moved to the point of being unable to "bear the misery of Israel" any longer.

Since mankind's fall, there has been a restless longing in the heart of God toward man. Indeed, if we are unreconciled with someone whom we love, do we not also carry heartache until we are restored? By providing atonement for man's sins, Jesus heals the estrangement, the wound, in the Father's heart, and then He extends that healing to man.

Paul explains what Christ has done in his letter to the Colossians. He writes:

And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. -Col 2:13-14

Mankind's unpayable debt is paid; God's incurable wound, healed. Not only do we have peace with God through the sacrifice of Christ, God has peace with us. He is freed from the limitations of justice; now He can remove the penalty of sin through love.

Let us celebrate what Christ has done: The demands of divine wrath, which could not be settled by man, are fully settled by God Himself through Christ. God is longing for reconciliation and healing with humanity. Indeed, Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king who wished to settle accounts" (Matt 18:23). This is God's heart, through Christ: He desires to settle accounts with mankind!

As long as we ourselves abide in mercy, the full panorama of divine mercy will remain open and fully active toward mankind's need. When we pray, "in Jesus' name," we are coming to the Father with the goal of mercy in mind. The announcement that we have come "in Jesus' name" signifies we are representatives of Jesus' purpose, which is mercy and not judgment.

Come boldly for mercy!

The Father has never taken pleasure in the death of the wicked. The idea that He has enjoyed destroying sinners is a satanic slander which Christ came to dispel. His attitude toward mankind is exactly the opposite: His joy increases when sinners repent. Because Christ's sacrifice for sin has led to millions who have repented, Jesus has increased inestimably the Father's joy.

Because judgment is now atoned for in Christ, the Father has full freedom to answer every prayer of mercy. He no longer is constrained to decide between judgment and mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment!

The church can come boldly into the throne of God's grace and stand before the mercy seat in prayer for the world around us. This is what Jesus gives to the Father: perfect fulfillment of God's love, perfect fulfillment of His compassion, perfect unveiling of the highest glory of God.

In fact, the very inspiration to intercede is the result of Christ working within us. Every time Christ is revealed through our intercession, wrath is delayed and divine mercy begins searching for the opportunity to triumph. When we pray, "God be merciful," we are not merely delaying His wrath; in truth, we are delighting and fulfilling His heart for mercy!

Do you not also feel, increasing in you, the Father's love for Jesus? He brings heaven to earth and bids us to join Him in the redemptive purpose. To cover sin, to not condemn but rather to intercede, is to reveal the nature of Christ. Whenever Christ is revealed, mercy triumphs, and the Father is well-pleased.

Lord Jesus, I desire to join You in bringing pleasure to the Father. Forgive me for my shallowness and indifference. Help me to see in You the pattern of love that never ceased to bring pleasure to the Father. You are the fragrance that pleases God. Come forth in Your mercy, even through me, and make me a source of delight unto the Father. Thank You, Lord, for You are my beloved, too, and in You, I find the river of God's pleasure.