When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him. Matthew 3:16 NKJV

Heaven Opened (1)—Jesus Christ the Object of Heaven’s Delight

There are four occasions in the New Testament in which the heavens are opened (Mt. 3:16; Jn. 1:51; Acts 7:56; Rev. 19:11). Each occurrence of an open heaven has the Lord Jesus as its special object.

The first incident, which sets the tone for the others that follow, occurs at the very beginning of Christ’s ministry on earth. The Lord Jesus came to John to be baptized but John tried to prevent Him (Mt. 3:14). John protested that it should be the other way around, Christ should be baptizing him! But the Lord Jesus responded “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (v. 15). Christ’s gracious response was, “it is fitting for us” to do so, thus identifying Himself with John’s ministry. But we must be careful, there was no necessity that Christ be baptized other than the fact that it was “to fulfill all righteousness.” This cannot be stated strongly enough: it was righteousness that brought Him there—not sin.

This is why heaven opened and we hear the Father’s voice expressing supreme delight in His Son (vv. 16–17). In taking this position of humility, men could potentially abuse that grace and put Christ on the level with sinful men. Heaven would not have it, or allow even the thought of it, thus the Voice and opened heaven: Christ was the object of heaven’s delight!

It is written that when “the Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God,” the conclusion is, “There is none who does good, no, not one” (Ps. 14:2–3). Until, of course, the Son of God came and took His place among men, then heaven opened in delight upon a Man!

Brian Reynolds