settings icon
share icon

What does “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” mean in Matthew 3:17?

translate this is my beloved Son

At the baptism of Jesus, a voice from heaven declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17, ESV). In this verse, Jesus is confirmed as the divine and eternal Son of God (cf. John 1:1, 14). This revelation is important for several reasons:

The baptism of Jesus signifies the beginning of His public ministry. Although baptism, as administered by John the Baptist, was a sign of repentance (see Matthew 3:6, 11), the baptism of Jesus was unique because He is sinless and did not need to repent (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22–24). His baptism, therefore, signaled His identification with sinners and the beginning of His redemptive work.

Each member of the Godhead is present for the baptism of Jesus. After emerging from the Jordan River, God the Son “saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him” (Matthew 3:16, ESV). At that moment, the Father spoke from heaven and said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (verse 17, ESV).

The Father’s declaration that Jesus is “my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” echoes Old Testament prophecies about a coming Messiah. In Isaiah 42:1, for example, God says, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.” Jesus, then, is the long-awaited Messiah (Matthew 3:11–12) who always pleases the Father (John 8:29).

The phrase beloved Son signifies a unique relationship between the Son and Father that differs from other father-son relationships. Unlike believers, who are God’s children by adoption (Romans 8:15), Jesus is God’s Son by nature, sharing the same divine essence: “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18, ESV; cf. John 20:17).

The Father’s satisfaction in the Son highlights Jesus’ perfect obedience to the Father’s will. In John 4:34, Jesus says, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work” (ESV). And in John 6:38–39, Jesus says, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me” (ESV).

Because of Jesus’ obedience, the Father “has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11, ESV).

In short, Matthew 3:17 is both a historical account of Jesus’ baptism and a theological exposition of who He is—the eternal, divine, and beloved Son of God.

Return to:

Questions about Matthew

What does “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” mean in Matthew 3:17?
Subscribe to the

Question of the Week

Get our Question of the Week delivered right to your inbox!

Follow Us: Facebook icon Twitter icon YouTube icon Pinterest icon Instagram icon
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy
This page last updated: January 23, 2024