We talk about blessings all the time as believers, We sometimes talk about giving a blessing, or we pray for a blessing, or we read in the Bible about a blessing, but have you ever wondered it really means? Blessing is God granting the power to do what he wants and intends for us to do. When we bless others in the name of God, we are in effect praying that God would send His blessing to them. When we bless we are asking God to bless someone to be successful in God’s good will and intentions for them.
There are numerous accounts of blessings in the Bible, and one of the most well-known stories concerns the two sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau. Their story in Genesis has a companion story in the New Testament. It’s the parable of the Prodigal Son, in Luke 15, but that title is a little misleading because it’s really a story about two sons, one a Jacob-like schemer, the other an Esau-like plodder. Even more, it’s a story about the real Prodigal: the father. The word “prodigal”, means one who spends extravagantly, without thought about the cost. The one who does that in Jesus’ parable is not the younger son who simply spends his fortune foolishly, it’s the father. He is the one who gives one blessing after another. He spends on his sons without measure.
Think about Esau’s woebegone reaction to the news that Jacob had stolen their father’s one and only blessing: “’Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!’ Then Esau wept aloud” (Genesis 27:38). Jesus’ parable ends similarly, but then offers a grace-filled twist. The younger son, like Esau, wants to lament his loss of the blessing. But the father has an unexpected surprise for him.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.” The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” Luke 15:25-31
Everything I have is yours. Jesus is telling us in this parable what John states as a basic principle of the Kingdom of God: In Christ, we have all received one gracious blessing after another. Through Christ, God’s blessings to us have no limits.
Receive His blessings. Extend His blessings. Teach your children to receive and extend these blessings as well. We should all acknowledge and bless God, the source of all blessing, and then remember to obey his command, as his power enables us, to pass on His blessing to others.
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.