The Blessing of Abraham

The Gift of the Spirit is imparted by Jesus as part of God’s promise to bless all the nations in Abraham’s Seed, namely, JesusAfter the Day of Pentecost, Peter and John prayed for a man who was “lame from his mother’s womb” as he begged for alms near the Temple complex. Rather than money, they commanded him to walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Immediately, he stood up and began to walk, and he was seen and heard “leaping and praising God.”

The incident was observed by many Jews as they entered and exited the Temple, filling them with “wonder and amazement.” This provided Peter with an excellent opportunity to preach the Gospel, which he did almost immediately – (Acts 3:1-11).

Alpine Wilderness - Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash
[Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash]

Peter attributed the healing of the lame man to the “
God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,” and 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.”

Jesus was the “Servant” of the LORD, a reference to the Messianic prophecy in the Book of Isaiah, the “Servant” who suffered for his people. He also was the promised “prophet like Moses,” and “all the prophets from Samuel and those who followed afterward spoke of these days.”

The theme of fulfillment in and by Jesus is pronounced in the passage. The Jews to whom Peter spoke were the “sons of the prophets” and heirs of the covenant with Abraham, the one 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, the ascension of Jesus, and the outpouring of the Spirit to the Abrahamic Covenant and its promise to “bless” all the nations in Abraham’s “Seed” - (Genesis 12:1-3).

PROMISE OF THE FATHER


  • (Acts 3:24-26) – “Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed, 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.”

Previously, the Gospel of Luke alluded to the same covenant promise. The opening chapters of Acts likewise refer to the “Promise of the Father” and the summons for the disciples to proclaim the Good News to the “uttermost parts of the Earth” - (Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:4-8, Acts 2:39).

Both in his gospel account and the Book of Acts, Luke identifies this “Promise” 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 Assembly in Jerusalem demonstrated that the time of fulfillment had commenced as the result of the Death and Resurrection of the Nazarene.

Likewise, in his Letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul equated the “Promise of the Spirit” with the “blessing of Abraham.” The original covenant had envisioned the inclusion of the Gentiles, and Jesus was the “true Seed of Abraham.” All men who belong to him therefore become the “children of Abraham” and “heirs of the covenant according to promise” - (Galatians 3:13-14, Ephesians 1:13-14).

Cascade Mountain - Photo by Xavier von Erlach on Unsplash
[Photo by Xavier von Erlach on Unsplash]

THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT


The covenant promises to Abraham find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ, beginning with the Spirit, the “Promise of the Father.” The Risen Jesus now gives this Gift to Gentile and Jewish believers alike based on repentance and faith. The inclusion of the “Gentiles” was not an afterthought or an ad hoc measure. It was integral to the covenant promises.

By granting the Spirit to all men and women who believe in Jesus, God is implementing the promised “blessing of Abraham” to the “nations” of the Earth (the Greek term, ethnos, can be rendered “gentile” or “nation”).

With his Resurrection and Exaltation, the long-awaited outpouring of the Spirit began with all its promised blessings. The Book of Acts documents the first decades of this process as the disciples took the Gospel throughout much of the Roman world under the direction and empowerment of the Spirit.

The declaration of the Good News commenced in the city of Jerusalem, but only after the disciples were “endued with power from on high” when they received the “Promise of the Father” - The Gift of the Spirit and the “Blessing of Abraham.”



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