Anatomy of a Blessing
13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them—Mark 10:13-16.
The Hebrew word blessing means literally to bow the knee. The blessing is a formula of words which express fondness for, confidence in, and recognition of a specific person. The blessing was a bestowal of favor; a transaction which gave material and spiritual benefit to the recipient. It happened as a process—you grew up receiving words of blessing. But then, at a certain time in Jewish families, there was a ceremony of giving the blessing. While emphasis was placed on the firstborn, all of the children received blessing (Genesis 48:1 - 49:27).
The father would call together some of his friends, and they would form a circle around this son or daughter. We see both males and females getting the blessing, though I think it is important to indicate there seems to be within men a greater need for the blessing from their fathers. In bestowing the blessing, a Hebrew man would speak into the life of that son or daughter, affirming them and offering wisdom about life. This ceremony would happen somewhere between fourteen and sixteen years of age. At the conclusion, the father would awkwardly take the son or daughter up on his shoulders and dance about the room in celebration saying in front of all of his peers, “This is my beloved son (or daughter) in whom I am well pleased.” You might recognize those words as those that God the Father used to repeatedly bless His Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). The significance of the blessing is modeled in the Father-Son relationship in the Trinity.
In Mark 10, parents were bringing their children to Jesus and the disciples said, “Hey. He is too busy. He doesn’t really have time for kids.” Jesus said, “Do not forbid them for such is the kingdom of heaven.” Mark 10:16 says, “He took them up in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.”
Blessing is not merely affirmation as in, “Boy! You’re a good soccer player,” or, “Wow! Daddy’s girl looks nice today!” It is parental bestowal of favor, acceptance, and goodwill which is rooted in who the person is, not just their appearance or their accomplishments, but in their very personhood. As parents or significant people in a child’s life, we can have a powerful ministry by speaking words of blessing.
- What are some blessing statements or actions I have communicated to my children or others recently? How can I do that more?
- In my own life, what have been the most impactful blessings delivered?
Prayer - Heavenly Father, thank You for Your blessings in my life and for the blessing of eternal life! Because You have delivered so much good into my life, open my eyes and ears to ways I can pass on the blessing in words and actions in other people’s lives, particularly those closest to me. Help me to remember the power of Your blessings in my life is actually increased as I seek to bless others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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