The Blessing of Abraham

The Gift of the Spirit bestowed by Jesus is part of God’s covenant promise to bless all the nations in Abraham’s SeedAfter 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 entrance to the Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to stand up and walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Immediately, he began to walk. Afterward, 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 – (Acts 3:1-11).

Photo by Ezra Jeffrey-Comeau on Unsplash
[Photo by Ezra Jeffrey-Comeau on Unsplash]

He attributed this healing to the “God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob,” and to 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 fulfilledtherefore, men everywhere ought to repent so their sins may be blotted out.”

In the passage, Jesus is identified as the “Servant” of Yahweh, a reference to the messianic prophecy found in the Book of Isaiah. He is also the promised and greater “prophet like unto Moses.” Moreover, “all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after spoke of these days.”

As in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, the theme of fulfillment in Jesus is quite pronounced. The Jews to whom Peter was speaking 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).


Peter linked the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and the consequent outpouring of the Spirit, to the covenant with the Patriarch, especially the promise to “bless” all the nations of the Earth in Abraham’s “Seed” - (Genesis 12:1-3).

  • (Acts 3:24-26) – “Yea and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, 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 of the Kingdom of God and the reign of Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, “to the uttermost parts of the Earth” - (Luke 24:44-49, Acts 1:4-8).

  • (Acts 2:39) – “Being, therefore, exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this, which you see and hear… Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call to him.”

In his Gospel and the Book of Acts, Luke identifies the “Promise of the Father” with the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and he links it to the original covenant with Abraham - The promise to “bless all the nations of the Earth.”

The bestowal of the Spirit on the 120 disciples assembled for prayer on the Day of Pentecost demonstrated that the era of fulfillment had commenced as the result of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus of Nazareth.

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


The covenant promises to Abraham find their fulfillment in Jesus, beginning with the Gift of the Spirit, the “Promise of the Father” that he now gives to Gentile and Jewish believers alike on the basis of their repentance and faith in him.

The inclusion of the “Gentiles” in the covenant community was not an afterthought or an ad hoc measure. From the beginning, it was integral to the original covenant with Abraham. By granting the Spirit to all men and women who respond to Jesus and his Gospel in faith, God is now implementing the promised “blessing of Abraham” to the “nations” as the Good News is proclaimed throughout the Earth (the Greek term, ethnos, can be rendered “gentile” or “nation”).

With the Nazarene’s resurrection and exaltation, the long-awaited Gift of the Spirit has been poured out with all its blessings. The Book of Acts documents the first decades of this process as the disciples took the Gospel throughout the Roman world under the direction and power of the Spirit.

The proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom began 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,” empowering them to take the message to the “uttermost parts of the Earth.”




Language of the New Testament

Two Little Horns?