Monday, August 7 2017
What I did was sort of illegal.
I mean, if you go strictly by international airline laws, I should never have brought them from one country to another. But I kind of camouflaged them in a plastic container as a part of my homemade lunch, and so they made it through dozens of screenings and x-rays in various airports, until they finally made it with no problem to my table back in my home in Colombia.
I’m talking about a peach and a few plums that I brought with me from Canada a few days ago. I never did end up eating them en route, so I was able to share them with my family in Colombia – and I now have one peach pit and a few plum pits to plant to see if they will eventually grow into trees here.
As I said, what I did was sort of illegal: because fruit and seeds really aren’t supposed to cross international borders. But, I suppose a single peach and a few plums crossing over from North to South America in someone’s lunch aren’t worth an airline’s worry and trouble. And so, I can now enjoy them thousands of miles away from where I bought them – and years down the road, possibly even enjoy many peaches and plums from the trees that will have grown from the seeds I planted.
So when I read Galatians 3:16 this week, the next 3:16 verse in THE 3:16 SERIES of reflections that I have been meditating on and writing about, the words spoke to me: because the apostle Paul who wrote them was also speaking of “seeds” and one “seed” in particular. A “seed” much more important than my peach and plum pits. A “seed” who also “travelled” in space and time to be a blessing to others.
“The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.
Scripture does not say “and to seeds”,
meaning many people,
but “and to your seed”,
meaning one person,
who is Christ.”
Powerful words, really – but only if they are understood in their historical and immediate contexts.
What promises? Spoken by whom? Who is Abraham? And what is meant by the words “seed” and “seeds”?
Abraham was the first of the Old Testament patriarchs, born around 2000 B.C. - a man from then pagan Harran, a city whose ruins lie within present-day Turkey. One day when he was 75 years old, he was called by God to leave his country and people and family, and to go to a place in the land of Canaan where God Himself would lead and bless him.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Sometime around 40 years after these promises were initially spoken by God to Abraham, God tested Abraham’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac whom he loved as a burnt offering to Him. Just as Abraham was about to slay his son…
“… the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
Do not lay a hand on the boy…
Do not do anything to him.
Now I know that you fear God
because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time
“I swear by myself, declared the Lord,
that because you have done this
and have not withheld your son, your only son,
I will surely bless you
and make your descendants as numerous
as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.
Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,
and through your offspring [or seed] all nations on earth will be blessed,
because you have obeyed me.”
(Genesis 22:11-12, 15-18)
So, what were the promises spoken by God to the patriarch Abraham?
- that he, being only one man, would be made into a great nation, with his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore
- that God would surely bless him
- that God would make his name great
- that through his offspring or seed all nations and all peoples on earth would be blessed
That last promise, spoken to Abraham and referring to one of his offspring or seed and not to many or to all of them, is the one mentioned in Galatians 3:16 – because in this verse God was not speaking of Abraham’s descendants as a whole, but of one special offspring, one special seed, “one person, who is Christ”.
“Christ… redeemed us
in order that the blessing given to Abraham
might come to the Gentiles [as well as to the Jews]
through Christ Jesus…”
It is Jesus Christ, that one offspring or seed of Abraham’s, who is a blessing to all nations and all peoples. Through His birth and life, death and resurrection, all who believe in Him are blessed: blessed with forgiveness, salvation and eternal life.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile,
neither slave nor free,
nor is there male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ,
then you are Abraham’s seed,
and heirs according to the promise.”
Dear friend: just make sure that you “belong to Christ”! Then you too will be considered an heir to the promises given to Abraham through Him!
- 1 John 3:16
- The Bridges of Prague in the Czech Republic
- The Legacy of Wartburg Castle in Germany
- Martin Luther: Here He Stood (1483-1546)
- Katharina von Bora: The Runaway Nun (1499-1552)
- Johannes Bugenhagen: The Administrative Pastor (1485-1558)
- Zacharius Ursinus: The Happy Professor (1534-1583)
- Theodore Beza: The First Calvinist (1519-1605)
- Lady Jane Grey: The Teenage Martyr (c.1537-1554)
- Pierre Viret: The Smile of the Reformation (1511-1571)
- Robert Estienne: The Ink (1503-1559)
- John Calvin: The Genius of Geneva (1509-1564)
- John Knox: The Champion of the Kirk (c.1513-1572)
- Conrad Grebel: The Radical Reformer (c.1498-1526)
- Heinrich Bullinger: The Majestic Beard of Zurich (1504-1575)
- Hellen Stirke: The Ordinary Virgin Mary (died 1543)
- Hans Gooseflesh: The Accidental Reformer (c.1400-1468)
- Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Giant (1484-1531)
- Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley: The British Candle (martyred in 1555)
- Guillaume Farel: The French Firebrand (1489-1565)