So last time I asked Chat GPT to write my sermon for Sunday about the Ascension. I had fun with it and even used one of the illustrations it gave me in my sermon. I had mentioned that I was going to use it to do another post about my sermon for Pentecost Sunday, but I was moving houses that week and so I ended up running out of time.
I did, however, find the time to ask it to write a sermon for this Sunday (6.4.23). To remind readers, I have some guidelines I am following when it comes to this. I am NOT looking to use this to write my sermons for me. That would be unethical and just plain boring! My criteria for using Chat GPT for this series are as follows. First, I will ask it to give me a sermon on the text I am already planning to preach on Sunday. Second, I will ask it only after I had already thoroughly begun my own study and preparation.
My sermon for this Sunday is about a subtle difference between Matthew’s account of the Father’s affirmation from heaven at Jesus’s baptism and Mark and Luke’s account of the Father’s affirmation from heaven at Jesus’s baptism.
The difference is as follows:
“This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 NRSVue
“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22 NRSVue
The difference is subtle, but I think there is a lot to explore here theologically – as I did in my sermon about it. But I was curious what ChatGPT might be able to make of something like this. I was not terribly impressed with its depth of analysis. I found it rather repetitive.
Here’s the conversation:
Me: Give me a sermon. Use Matthew 3:17 and Mark 1:11 as the texts. The sermon should focus on and expound the difference between the wording in this two verses.
Title: “The Divine Declaration: Understanding the Difference in Wording”
Good morning, dear brothers and sisters! Today, we have the privilege of exploring two powerful verses from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Matthew 3:17 and Mark 1:11 capture a profound moment in Jesus’ life—the divine declaration that took place during His baptism. As we examine the slight differences in wording between these two verses, we will gain deeper insight into the significance of this event and its implications for our own lives. Let us dive into the Word of God and discover the richness within these verses.
I. The Shared Experience: Jesus’ Baptism
Both Matthew 3:17 and Mark 1:11 depict the baptism of Jesus Christ, a pivotal event marking the beginning of His earthly ministry. John the Baptist, fulfilling his role as the forerunner, baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. As Jesus emerged from the water, a divine proclamation echoed from heaven, affirming His identity and mission.
II. Matthew 3:17: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
In Matthew’s account, we read the heavenly voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” The wording in Matthew emphasizes the profound love and pleasure that the Father has for Jesus. This declaration reveals the unique relationship between the Father and the Son, a relationship of perfect love, unity, and delight.
Imagine a proud parent witnessing their child’s remarkable achievement. With overwhelming joy and affection, they exclaim, “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased!” The parent’s words carry deep love and pride, expressing the unique bond shared with their child. In a similar way, the Father’s words in Matthew convey His deep love and pleasure in His Son, Jesus.
III. Mark 1:11: “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased.”
In Mark’s account, we find a slight difference in wording, but the essence remains the same. The voice from heaven declares, “You are my beloved Son; with you, I am well pleased.” Mark’s wording emphasizes the direct address to Jesus, highlighting the Father’s personal affirmation of His Son’s identity and purpose.
Imagine a child standing before their parent, seeking approval and validation. The parent tenderly gazes at their child and says, “You are my beloved child; with you, I am well pleased.” These words carry deep meaning, assuring the child of their worth, value, and acceptance. Similarly, the Father’s words in Mark directly address Jesus, affirming His unique identity and the pleasure He brings to the Father’s heart.
The difference in wording between Matthew and Mark reminds us of the personal and intimate relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ. Just as the Father declared His love and pleasure in Jesus, He also extends His love and acceptance to us through faith in His Son. We are adopted into His family, becoming beloved children, and find our identity and purpose in Him.
In the divine declaration at Jesus’ baptism, we witness the profound love, pleasure, and affirmation the Father has for His Son. The slight differences in wording between Matthew 3:17 and Mark 1:11 emphasize the personal and intimate nature of this declaration. Through Jesus Christ, we too can experience the Father’s love and acceptance, finding our true identity as beloved children.
Let us remember that, in Christ, we are chosen, cherished, and delightfully embraced by our Heavenly Father. May we live each day in the joy and confidence that comes from knowing we are loved and well-pleasing to our Heavenly Father. May His words of affirmation propel us to walk in obedience, service, and love, bringing glory to His name. Amen.