By the God of your father who will help you, And by the Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, Blessings of the deep that lies beneath, Blessings of the breasts and of the womb. May the blessings of your father surpass the blessings of the ancient mountains, reaching to the heights of the eternal hills. —Genesis 49:25-26
The act of ‘passing on a blessing’ is a special rite of passage for fathers and their sons in the Old Testament. Abraham passed his blessing to Isaac, who in turn passed it to Jacob (after he had deceived his brother Esau), and then Jacob spreads that blessing to his 12 sons and the two sons of Joseph as well. This act of passing on a blessing, symbolizes an intimate bond between father and son, one sealed and brought to complete fruition in the blessing moment just before a father’s death (as we see in Genesis).
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:13-14:
In the early chapters of Second Chronicles, the narrator takes us through the building process of the temple, the magnificent architectural wonder that was built in order to house the presence of God. At the end of the building process, a seven-year endeavor, King Solomon dedicates the temple to the Lord and asks for His presence to enter into it. The Lord, in His all-mighty power, lets down a fire from heaven, one that consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and right after His glory filled the temple.
Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" —Exodus 33:15-16
Because of the life and death of Christ, the wall that that once separated us from God has been torn down, allowing us to come humbly to Him, to plead with Him, to ask for His great mercy.
1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. —Isaiah 60:1-3
The verse above is professed as promises of restoration to the Hebrew people as they neared the end of exile in Babylon. God’s call to them is to rise up from their despair and to take in the Lord’s light, for He is going to take them from the dark place that was exile and to deliver them back to a kingdom that is built by Him in Jerusalem.
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — The sure mercies of David. —Isaiah 53: 1,3
The book of Isaiah, spoken by the prophet Isaiah, details the tragic fall of the Hebrew people to the hands of the Babylon people and also depicts a sort of apolocolyptic ending to the world. It first conveys Israel’s deep sin, how the nation places the exploits of man above the Lord, and how the nation loses its faith and turns to human ways to make peace and prosperity. For this, God allows Babylon to take the people and their possessions captive. But, as we know, the Lord has unbounded grace, and He chooses to redeem His people, as the author predicts; He alludes to the rise of Cyrus, of Persia, who would conquer Babylon and free the Hebrew people.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. —John 1:17
In one verse, we see the transforming power that was the free gift brought by Christ and that was Christ. Before Him was the law, a way of life that made its followers be consumed by a set order for living that when expounded on by man, set to create a rule for every facet of life.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. —Hebrews 11: 39-40
In Hebrews, the book that speaks mostly to the newly converted and the seeking Jews, the author gives a very deep and multi-faceted account to the primacy of Jesus Christ. He spends most of the chapter in linking the authoritative order of the high priest to Jesus, the ultimate High Priest, who went into the heavenly tabernacle to sacrifice for us.
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. —Hebrews 3:12-14
The third chapter of Hebrews focuses on faith, more so on enduring faith, the kind of faith that calls us to hold onto God throughout our life on this earth. Chapter 3 begins by explaining the faith of Jesus Christ, who did God’s servant work, as Moses did, but took it a step further, by being the Son of the House, of which God built the house; we become part of that house, the brick and mortar, once we commit our faith to Christ firm to the end.
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. —Luke 10:20
Jesus, in the midst of His earthly ministry, in the midst of healing and casting out demons, empowered those closest to Him to do the same, first to His 12 disciples and then to a special group of 70. Their mission was to go to the surrounding towns and do as He did: heal the sick and make known that the Kingdom of God was near.
I and the Father are one. —John 10:30
This six-word verse is short, but oh so sweet. It paints a picture of the solid unity in identity and purpose between the Father, God in heaven, and His Son, God in the flesh-manifested as Jesus Christ. Prior to this verse, Jesus is talking about being the good shepherd, being the one that will lay down His life for His sheep, to keep them safe in a world where a multitude of evil beings—Satan particularly—want to harm them. Before He speaks this, Jesus praises the Father as being “greater than all” and the Father who “has given them to me,” meaning that the Father has passed His people over to the Son, Jesus Christ. In this way, Jesus links the Father’s sovereignty as ruler over all and to the sovereignty entrusted to Him as the Son, keeper of the sheep, and those that believe on Him as the Son, will have eternal life and not be harmed.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23
Jesus told His followers that He would leave them a helper, the Holy Spirit. Those that come to have faith in Jesus Christ are aware that it is this Spirit that works in them to overcome the flesh and be obedient to the will of God.
18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18-20
It has come to be called the “Great Commission,” an anointing by the Lord, to each of us, to go out and impart His truth of eternal life unto the world.
11 Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. 12 For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. —1 Corinthians 11:11-12
God not only created the universe, which is an amazing feat, but He did it poetically – by making man in His own image; and out of the rib of that man, He created woman. God then developed woman in a way that through her, all men and women would be brought to life. Everything comes from God!
39Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." 40Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" 41Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains. —John 9: 39-41
Jesus’s act of giving sight to the blind man is one of the greatest miracles He produced when He walked this earth, when He spat on the ground, made a clay substance that He put on the man’s eyes, told the man to go wash in pool of Siloam, and there that man received his sight. Following this transformation in this man’s vision, much controversy resulted – the Pharisees doubted the essence of what they saw before them and tried to entangle Christ in wrongdoing, for healing on the Sabbath – and they cast out the blind man when he told them about following God, about worshipping Him and those that do His will, will be heard.