The Blessing of Abraham

Peter and John prayed for a man who was “lame from his mother’s womb” as he was begging for alms near the Jerusalem Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to stand and walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Immediately, he began to walk, and afterward, he was seen and heard “leaping and praising God.”

Many Jews observed this incident as they entered and left the Temple, filling them with “wonder and amazement,” providing Peter an excellent opportunity to preach the Gospel – (Acts 3:1-11).

waterfalls Alone - Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash
[Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash]

He attributed the healing to the “
God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,” and to faith in the name of Jesus, the “Servant of Yahweh” whom the Father raised from the dead - “The things that God foreshowed by all the prophets, that his Messiah should suffer, he thus fulfilled… therefore, men everywhere ought to repent so their sins may be blotted out.”

The Apostle identified Jesus as the Servant of Yahweh of the Book of Isaiah. He was also the greater “prophet like Moses.” The theme of fulfillment in Jesus is pronounced in the story of the beggar’s healing and the subsequent events. The Jews present that day were the “sons of the prophets” and heirs of the covenant with Abraham in whom “all the families of the earth would be blessed” - (Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Isaiah 42:1, Acts 2:17-38).

Thus, Peter linked the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, and the outpouring of the Spirit, to the covenant with the Patriarch, especially the promise to “bless” all the Nations of the Earth in Abraham’s “Seed” - (Genesis 12:1-3).

  • (Acts 3:24-26) – “Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken, they also told of these days. You are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, and IN YOUR SEED SHALL ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED. Unto you first, God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

The Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts allude to the same “Promise of the Father” and the mission of the Assembly now filled with the Holy Spirit to announce the “Good News” to the Nations:

  • (Luke 24:44-49) – “Thus, it is written, that the Messiah should suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name TO ALL THE NATIONS, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
  • (Acts 1:4-8) – “He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father… For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence… But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you: and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and TO THE UTTERMOST PART OF THE EARTH.”
  • (Acts 2:39) – “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is THE PROMISE, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call to him.”

Hence, in his gospel account and Acts, Luke identifies this “Promise of the Father” with the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and he links it to the covenant with Abraham and the promise to “bless all the Nations of the Earth.” The bestowal of the Spirit on the saints assembled in Jerusalem demonstrated that the era of fulfillment had commenced with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus.

GIFT OF THE SPIRIT


Similarly, Paul equated the “Promise of the Spirit” with the “Blessing of Abraham.” The covenant always envisioned the inclusion of the Gentiles. Jesus was the “Seed of Abraham,” and all men who belonged to him became the “children of Abraham” and “heirs according to Promise” - (Galatians 3:13-14, Ephesians 1:13-14).

The Abrahamic promises are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, beginning with the Gift of the Spirit, the “Promise of the Father” that he gives to Gentile and Jewish believers alike.

Including “Gentiles” in the covenant promises was not an afterthought or ad hoc measure. By granting the Spirit to everyone who believed, God began implementing the “Blessing of Abraham” as the Gospel of His Kingdom was proclaimed, beginning in Jerusalem but certainly not ending there. The list of nations from which the Jewish pilgrims came on the Day of Pentecost anticipated the later opening of the Gospel and the Gift of the Spirit to the Gentiles – (Acts 2:8-13, 10:44-48).

Waterfall and River - Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash
[Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash]

The long-awaited Gift of the Spirit was being poured out with all its inherent blessings as the result of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The 
Book of Acts documents the first decades of this process as the disciples announced the Gospel in much of the Roman Empire under the direction and power of the Holy Spirit.

The declaration of the Good News commenced in Jerusalem, but only after the disciples were “endued with power from on high” when they received the “Promise of the Father” and the “Blessing of Abraham.” The now Spilled-filled Church was equipped and motivated to take the Good News of the Kingdom of God to the “uttermost parts of the Earth.”



RELATED POSTS:
  • As many as He calls - (The Gift of the Spirit is for every man who repents, even to those afar off, and in fulfillment of the promise of the Father - Acts 2:37-41)
  • The Spirit of Promise - (The Promise of the Spirit is one of the blessings of Abraham promised by God for the nations and the children of the Patriarch)
  • Salvation for All - (The Gospel of the Kingdom announced by Jesus offers salvation and life to all men and women of every nation and people)

Comments

POPULAR POSTS

On the Cruciform Road

The Gospel Message