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Why Is Jesus the "Beloved" If We Are All Children of God?

One of the titles for Jesus is “Beloved Son.”

In the New Testament gospels, the only time the word "beloved" is used is when God the Father is speaking of His Son Jesus, such as when Jesus was baptized:

“And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11), or at the glory-enwrapped experience at the Mount of Transfiguration when, “a bright cloud overshadowed [Jesus, Peter, James, and John]: and behold a voice out of the cloud . . . said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him” (Matthew 17:5).

"Beloved" is an interesting word. Not only is its definition significant, but its use in scripture points clearly to the role Jesus plays in the plan of salvation.

Let’s begin by learning more about the word beloved and other words in the English language that start with “be.” When “be” begins a word, it means “completely, thoroughly, fully.”

For example, let’s take a look at a few familiar “be” words we use, and as we do this new understanding of “be” meaning “completely,” we may give us new insights:

Beget = be + get = to fully deliver. God called Jesus His Only Begotten, which means that Jesus is the only one God’s children that God fully delivered over to the ultimate pain and suffering required to make atonement.

Below = be + low = completely underneath. Remember that Christ has descended below all things—He is completely underneath us, supporting and helping us.

Betray = be + tray = thoroughly hand over. In the Garden of Gethsemane, after His excruciating suffering, Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he [Judas] is at hand that doth betray me” (Matthew 26:46, emphasis added). Judas fully handed Jesus over to the authorities, and the authorities had never been able to capture Jesus. Judas’s act of fully handing Jesus over directly led to His death.

Beyond = be + yond = completely over there. In the Old Testament, Israel’s enemies paid Balaam to prophecy evil against Israel. But, “Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more” (Numbers 22:18, emphasis added).  Balaam would not cross the line.  He would not put himself “completely over there” on the other side of the commandments of God.  Instead, he would stay safely within the circumference of the commanded space of fully here.

Betrothed = Be + truth = completely in truth. When you are engaged, you are thoroughly and truthfully promised to marry someone, just as Joseph was truthfully promised to marry Mary, even though she was pregnant with a child not his own.

Beguile = be + guile = completely and thoroughly deceived. When Eve ate of the fruit, she did so as one completely and thoroughly deceived. Only after the fact were her eyes opened and meaningful context and understanding for her decision were revealed, as she expressed, “were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5:11).

Begin = be + gin =completely open something. When you start something you fully open the door to that experience. Baptism is a gateway or beginning that fully opens to us the path back to the presence of God.

Become = be + come = thoroughly arrive. When you have become something, you have fully arrived. When we finally become like God, we will have fully arrived at our potential.

Befriend = be + friend = thoroughly and fully make a friend. To be a real friend requires thoroughness. President Gordon B. Hinkley regularly encouraged the saints as Christians to thoroughly make friends with those around us. (See The Need for Greater Kindness, April 2006 general conference).

Behave = be + have = what you completely and thoroughly have. Your actions become your habits. Your habits are your be+haviors or what you thoroughly and completely have. If you want to have righteousness, you must be+have righteously.

Believe = be + love = what you complete and thoroughly love and have confidence in. Jesus Christ frequently asked his followers to believe in Him—to love Him and have confidence in Him and Heavenly Father.

What does “beloved” mean?

Now that we’ve looked at a few other familiar “be” words, what about the word “beloved”? It comes from be + loved = fully, thoroughly, completely loved and pleasing. When Jesus is called the “Beloved Son” it means that he is completely, thoroughly, and fully loved. He is the one who fully, thoroughly and completely pleases God.

The “Beloved Son” was the chosen king who pleased God. In the Old Testament, the most beloved son, or king, who pleased God was David. Significantly, the word “David” in Hebrew means “beloved.”

These two following verses speak of King David and His descendant Jesus as beloved.

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psalm 2:7, emphasis added). This verse is a coronation text where David (or his chosen descendant, Jesus) is adopted by God and set upon the throne of kingship to rule as God’s representative and son.

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1, emphasis added). Though this verse definitely points to David’s heir, Jesus, it originally referenced king David and his legitimate heirs.

In summary, when we hear God call Jesus the “Beloved Son” we can know it is a title of kingship and a designation that Jesus has fully pleased God, because of His thorough righteousness and sinless life. Jesus as the “Beloved Son” is God’s chosen King and Messiah.


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Create a Christ-centered holiday tradition with these new as you review the sacred names of the Savior on these names of Christ ornaments. Display these ornaments on the tree, as gift tags, or adorning a wreath. They make the perfect gift. Names include: Lamb of God; Holy One; Prince of Peace; Jehovah; Messiah; Only Begotten; Counselor; Savior; Advocate; Beloved Son; Deliverer; and Wonderful.



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Taylorhalverson

Dr. Taylor Halverson

Taylor Halverson is a BYU Teaching and Learning Consultant. He recently helped edit the new book Knowing Why: 137 Evidences that the Book of Mormon is True and has published and presented widely on scripture, innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, teaching, and learning and has PhDs in Biblical Studies and Instructional Technology. Click here to request a free eBook Memoirs of the Ward Rumor Control Coordinator, a light-hearted look at our beloved Mormon culture. More at taylorhalverson.com.

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