Trinity | Devotion #1: Matthew 3:16-17
Ryan Story | Student Pastor
I am new to the parent game. Figuring out holiday traditions has been one of the more enjoyable conversations I get to have with my wife. Last Easter, my wife and I decided that we would get our boys gifts that would have to fit into three categories. These categories were, “something fun,” “something to wear,” and “something to read.” We both agreed that we wanted to make sure any books we purchased had some “Jesus merit” to them. While wandering around a Christian bookstore, my wife found cute books about the ark, Bible sight words, and other colorful age-appropriate books for my, at the time, infant son and year-and-a-half son. What did I find you ask? I somehow found a children’s book about one of the hardest topics to explain. Yes, I found a children’s book that helps explain the Holy Trinity! My wife thought I was insane for getting this book because our sons would not be able to understand the complexity of the Trinity. However, in due time, I know I will need to teach my sons one of the most complex and necessary theological concepts.
The very difficult part of understanding the Trinity is there are only a handful of moments when God is fully present in all three persons. One of the easiest moments to see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit present is when Jesus is baptized. Matthew 3:16-17 says, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” At this moment we see Jesus, the Son, being baptized. We read the God, the Father, saying that Jesus was “my Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Lastly, we see the Spirit of God descending like a dove. The account in Matthew might be the easiest story to see Father, Son, and Spirit all interacting with each other.
We have to understand that God operates in three persons, Father, Son, and Spirit. We also must look at God as one, Father, Son and Spirit are God. We must also know that each person of the Trinity has a different role. All three are all God, but all three “operate” differently. Run that through a few mental filters and when your brain starts to hurt you will be where you need to be when it comes to understanding the Trinity! Many people brush aside complex theology and leave it to a Pastor or scholars, but understanding the Trinity is so important!
When you look at any relationship you have, there are different complexities to it. I am a son of my father and a father to my son. I never treat my son as my father, and my father never treats my son like his son. It is important to understand that how we operate about others brings closeness. Way back in my young adult days I was given the opportunity to preach. At that time, I lived in complex theology, and I wrote a sermon titled “A Shallow view of the Trinitarian Godhead, Creates a Shallow Doxological Response.” I look back on that and realize I was a bit of a showoff. I should have simply titled this message “Not Knowing all Three Members of the Trinity Personally, can Affect the Way You Worship God.” This is why Matthew chapter 3 is so important. It is a perfect story to see all three members of the Trinity at work at the same time. At some point, I will have to teach my sons about God as Trinity, and this will be a tough task. I am welcoming the struggle because knowing them all personally will help the way my boys worship.