In Matthew 17 Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain. When they are all alone something utterly astonishing happens. All of a sudden God gives Jesus an appearance of glory. Verse 2: “His face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” Then in verse 5 a bright cloud overshadows them and God speaks from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
First, God gives the disciples a brief glimpse of the true heavenly glory of Jesus. This is what Peter says in 2 Peter 1:17—”[Christ] received honor and glory from God the Father.” Then God reveals his heart for the Son and says two things: “I love my son” (“This is my beloved Son”), and “I take pleasure in my Son” (“with whom I am well pleased”).
He says this on one other occasion: at Jesus’ baptism, as the Holy Spirit comes down and anoints Jesus for his ministry, signifying the Father’s love and support—”This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
And in the gospel of John, Jesus speaks several times about the Father’s love for him: for example, John 3:35, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.” John 5:20, “The Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing.”
(See also Matthew 12:18 where Matthew quotes Isaiah 42:1 in reference to Jesus: “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.” The Hebrew word behind “well pleased” is ratsah, and means “delights in.”)
So our first statement is that God the Father loves the Son, not with any self-denying, sacrificial mercy, but with the love of delight and pleasure. He is well-pleased with his Son. His soul delights in the Son! When he looks at his Son, he enjoys and admires and cherishes and prizes and relishes what he sees.