In the New
Testament a “blessing” we offer to a loved one is basically a prayer of
encouragement for them.
a verb used 44 times in the New Testament that means: “to praise [your
loved one], to celebrate [them] with praises [that] invoke [God’s] blessings
and consecrate [your loved one] with solemn prayers [that] ask God’s blessing
on [your loved one] to cause [them] to prosper, to make [them] happy, to bestow
blessings [that they be] favored by God.”
is why Peter says to the church so strongly, watch out for how you “rain down”
your words upon others.
Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling,
but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may
inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)
So Peter basically says those who love with
Christ's power, “sow words of blessing and you will reap a harvest of
blessing.” What a powerful motivation to primarily use our words, mouths, and
voices to bless others in Christ's Name!
And that is what we get from nearly every one
of the 44 times the word “bless” is used in the New Testament (14 x in Luke).
Here are some of the key verses:
often involves touching: "And He took them up in His arms, put His hands
on them, and blessed them." (Mark 10:16)
often points to the future: "Then Simeon
blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, 'Behold, this Child is destined for the
fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign which will be spoken against.'" (Luke 2:34)
is usually hard but always very rewarding: “Bless those who curse you, and pray
for those who spitefully use you." (Luke 6:28)
we miss it, Paul repeats the habit of blessing as part of Christ's church’s
mandate: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and
do not curse." (Romans 12:14)
was a Spirit-prompted work of blessing in the early church services: "Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies
the place of the uninformed say 'Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does
not understand what you say?" (1 Corinthians 14:16)
of the faith made it their last act like Christ's to stretch out their hands
and bless those they loved: "By faith Isaac
blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.By faith Jacob, when he was
dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on
the top of his staff." (Hebrews 11: 20-21)
should we learn to share a blessing with our families? Because a blessing
shared and the whole expression of love that it gives helps those we love know
in a visible way that we love them. Blessing those we love is a memorable way
they can remember feeling and hearing our love.
you ever remember your mother or father telling you out loud, in a clear and
loving voice, that they loved you and admired some qualities they had seen in
words just stay in our hearts for a lifetime. My own mom and dad often told me
how much they saw the Lord’s Hand in my life and what great things they
believed God would do in my life—and my dad who is still alive continues saying
that on a weekly basis! This type of love expressed is actually a reflection of
what God taught in Old Testament blessings.
Old Testament Blessings
of the key descriptions of how God wanted His people blessed comes from the
instructions to the priests. In the Jewish community the priests were the
public servants, they inspected for disease, they protected the food supply,
housing, dealt with domestic issues, and of course represented the people to
God. In the New Testament we are all in a real sense called like them to bless those around us.
“Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the
children of Israel.
Say to them: 'The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine
upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.'' So they shall put My name on the children of Israel,
and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6: 23-27, NKJV)
idea of the blessing of the people was so woven into the fabric of the life of
God’s chosen people of promise, the Jews, that they began to make a specific
verbal blessing time to be part of the private family Sabbath meal.
of the most moving Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath) traditions is the blessing over the
children given on Friday night. There are many variations on how the blessing
is made. The most common custom has the father walks around the table, put his
hands on each family members’ head, and bless them.
back in your mind to where we started.
And He led
them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted
from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem
with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24: 50-53, NKJV)
men would never forget walking with Jesus for 3 ½ years, they would never
forget Christ's death, burial, and resurrection; but what would be riveted in
their minds? It would be that incredible moment of the last time they saw Him
here on earth.
friend, their Savior, their most precious Lord of all left them in a most
lifted up His hands and gave them the most unforgettable expression of His
personal love as He touched each of them with His blessing!
about that. Jesus was very careful about what He did as He left His disciples, and
the picture they would have deeply etched in their minds is Christ's loving,
prayerful blessing raining down upon them as He was lifted upward and out of
felt His love. Those words of blessing raining down upon them must have been
remembered over and over in the days ahead.
have such power for good or evil. What kind of words do you “rain down” upon
those you are speaking to? And what are those who listen to your words
they feel your love?
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.