When did Jesus hear these words of blessing? Only after He had come up from the Jordan River, where He had been baptized by John the Baptist. John had at first refused to baptize Jesus, saying, “I need to be baptized by You.” But Jesus had insisted: “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Without going into all that Jesus’ statement might mean, let us concentrate only upon the essential significance of His baptism: By submitting to John’s baptism, which was “for the remission of sins,” Jesus clearly identified himself with sinful humanity. In other words, though He was morally spotless, He was willing to be considered filthy and in need of cleansing. He knew this was the Father’s will for Him, and that it would lead to the ultimate degradation, death upon a cross like a common criminal. After He had thus humbled Himself, Jesus heard the Father’s affirming words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” In Jesus’ experience, we discern clearly the path of blessing for all who trust in Him: If we will only admit that we are wrong and sinful, God will recognize us as His beloved children. In other words, if we confess our sins, He will forgive us. Not only so, but if we come daily to Him with humble admission of our many faults and failings, the Father will send the Holy Spirit to us constantly to renew His blessing upon us. And if we follow this same pattern in our relationships with others, refusing to defend or justify ourselves but freely admitting our mistakes and offenses, we shall find favor, not only with God, but with man as well. This is truly the blessed life!