SYNOPSIS – The promise of the Father, the gift of the Spirit was sent by Jesus to bless all the nations – Acts 3:25.
After the dramatic events on the Day of Pentecost, Peter and John prayed for a man who was “lame from his mother’s womb” and begging for alms near the entrance to the Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to walk “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Immediately, he stood up, began to walk, and was seen “leaping, and praising God.” This incident was observed by other Jews, filling them with “wonder and amazement.” This provided Peter with another opportunity to preach the gospel – (Acts 3:1-11).
Peter attributed the healing of the lame man 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 fulfilled.” Therefore, men ought to “repent so their sins may be blotted out.”
The Apostle labeled Jesus the “servant” of Yahweh, a reference to a messianic prophecy from the book of Isaiah, and the greater “prophet like Moses” promised to Israel. 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 – (Deuteronomy 18:15-18, Isaiah 42:1).
The Jews to whom Peter spoke 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.” Thus, he linked the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, as well as the outpouring of the Spirit to the covenant that Yahweh established with Abraham, especially the promise of “blessing” to all the nations of the earth.
(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 unto 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.”
The covenant promise was alluded to earlier in the gospel of Luke, and in the opening chapters of Acts, including the “promise of the Father” and the proclamation of the kingdom “to the uttermost parts of the earth”:
- (Genesis 12:2-3) – “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and you’re your name great…and in you will all the families of the earth be blessed.”
- (Luke 24:44-49) – “All things must be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms concerning me…Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
- (Acts 1:4-8) – “He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father…For John baptized with water; but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence…But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.”
- (Acts 2:33) – “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.”
- (Acts 2:38-39) – “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 unto him.”
Thus, in his gospel and the book of Acts, Luke identified the “promise of the Father” with the gift of the Holy Spirit, moreover, he linked it to the original covenant with Abraham – The promise to “bless all the nations of the earth” in the Patriarch. The gift of the Spirit demonstrated that the era of fulfillment has arrived in the Death, Resurrection, and the Exaltation of Jesus.
Likewise, the Apostle Paul equated 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, by definition, all men and women who belong to him are the children and heirs of Abraham – “Heirs according to promise.”
- (Galatians 3:13-14) – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree: that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
- (Ephesians 1:13-14) – “In whom, you also, hearing the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also believing, were sealed with the Spirit of the promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance.”
Thus, the covenant promises to Abraham find their fulfillment in Jesus and the gift of the Spirit that he now dispenses to Gentile and Jewish believers alike. Gentile inclusion was not an afterthought but always an integral part of the original covenant. The Spirit is the “promise of the Father” – The means by which He implements the “blessing of Abraham” to the nations.
With the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus, the long-awaited gift of the Spirit has arrived with all its promised blessings – The time of fulfillment has begun. The book of Acts documents the first decades of this process as the disciples, under the direction and power of the Spirit, take the gospel throughout the Roman world, beginning in Jerusalem.