Roger Severino

Blessed To Be A Blessing

The LORD said to Abram: Go from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. — Genesis 12:1–3

Have you ever watched a movie where all the various subplots come together and make sense once you know the climax of the story? Perhaps it’s a murder mystery where the villain is revealed, or an insight into a different perspective on how you should have interpreted the plot (think of the psychological thriller Sixth Sense).

In Luke 24, the resurrected Jesus says to His traveling companions: “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.

It’s likely that one of the passages Jesus referenced was the call of Abraham to be a blessing to all nations in Genesis 12. From this point on, we see the story of God working through a particular people, namely the Jews, to be a light to the nations. The promised Messiah would come through them.

How was the promise to Abraham that “all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you” fulfilled?

Once you get to the climax of the Bible’s story—Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—the various subplots start to come together, including this promise to Abraham.

Lest we miss it, the New Testament book of Galatians makes it clear in chapter 3 that this promise is fulfilled in Jesus, and that followers of Jesus are recipients of this blessing. “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:29).

The call of Abraham to be a blessing to the nations was ultimately fulfilled through one of his descendants, a “son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). It is ultimately through Jesus that all the nations hear and can receive the good news of salvation.

Let’s close with these words from Galatians 3:6-9.

Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness. You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham’s sons. Now the Scripture saw in advance that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and proclaimed the gospel ahead of time to Abraham, saying, All the nations will be blessed through you. Consequently, those who have faith are blessed with Abraham, who had faith.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. In what ways have you been blessed “in Christ”? Write your own list, or consider looking at Ephesians 1:3-14 and write down all the blessings you have in Jesus.
  2. Do you think God has blessed you to be a blessing to others? If so, how might you bless those around you? What are some specific examples?
  3. Are you a “child of Abraham”? How does Paul answer this question in Galatians 3?

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