Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us that God was pleased with Jesus at his baptism. Our functional definition (in this series) is that you please someone by doing what they like, what they want, and/or what they tell you to do. Given that understanding, our next question is: What do Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us about God's preferences, desires and commands?
Whatever they say about those topics they must also have intended their readers to understand as a reflection of Christ's life in Nazareth, before his baptism. Furthermore, if the details of their testimony are historically accurate, then such direct implications should also be considered historically accurate. The only question is, can we effectively distinguish between that which the authors clearly meant to imply on this topic and that which our own interpretative leanings might have us infer? In short, can we determine what Matthew, Mark and Luke are telling us, implicitly, about how Jesus was pleasing to God, in his behaviors?
I think we can, although it may take a little trial and error to work out a careful and proper procedure.
To be continued...