November 16, 2006

God Bless You

Exodus 12:13 & Matthew 26:26-29

An etymologist (someone who studies the origin of words) once said that the word bless is a gracious word with a grisly history. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb bless comes from Old English bledsian, which means “to consecrate with blood, to mark with blood.” Now, when the Greek and Latin translators of the Bible came across the Hebrew word barukh (which means “to kneel”), there wasn’t a direct translation, so they filled in the words of eulogeitos and benedicere, respectively, for the Hebrew word. By the time the Greek and Latin texts made it to the early English church, bless was chosen to translate those classical words. So when we say, “God bless you,” we are actually saying, “God bathe you in blood.” Which begs the question: Whose blood?

I like the fact that both the Old English and Hebrew words follow a certain Christian logic because the concept of blood, blessing and kneeling flows from the same source: God. Remember, there are two Biblical Passovers (Exodus 12:13 & Matthew 26:26-29); one is concealed, the other, revealed. In other words, we have been given a beautiful blessing (Ephesians 1:3) in Jesus Christ. Because of the blood He shed on the cross for you and me, we kneel and praise God for His gift (John 3:16). It is His blood and only the blood of our Passover Lamb that saves us from the grips of an everlasting death. Everything falls into place once you recognize the great treasure of Jesus Christ.

I invite you to reflect upon the meaning of blessing within your own life. Who has blessed your life in the past? Whom have you blessed? What images come to mind? Your children, family, friends? Think about the people at work, at the grocery store, and the ones you pass up in traffic. Do you leave space in your life to bless them and the common humanity you share with them? F.E. Marsh has listed some of God's blessings:

An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6).
An inheritance that can never be lost (I Peter 1:3-5).
A deliverance that can never be excelled (I Corinthians l:10).
A grace that can never be limited (II Corinthians 12:9).
A hope that can never be disappointed. (Hebrews 6:18, 19).
A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (I Colossians 3:21-23).
A joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11).
A nearness to God that can never be reversed (Ephesians 2:13).
A peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27).
A righteousness that can never be tarnished (II Corinthians 5:21).
A salvation that can never be canceled (Hebrews 5:9).

One final thought: The etymologist made an interesting word choice in calling the history of bless “grisly”, which means gruesome, horrific, repugnant. The word serves to remind us the price Christ paid for our sins (Romans 6:23). It is nothing but the blood that saves us. My hope and prayer is that you will come to Christ and walk with Him. May God bless you.

1 comment:

Rodolfo de Leon said...
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