Series: Followers of Jesus
Message: In the Blessing
Preacher: Japhet De Oliveira
Reflection: Japhet De Oliveira
Live Wonder: Jessyka Dooley
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Purpose: Vanessa Rivera
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Romans 16:17-27 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: The father, husband, artist, musician, warrior, prophet, king, and shepherd David experienced in his life the full range of emotions that most of us do not wish to experience. Even though he lived through rejection, loss, love, war, hope, and glory, he knew that God was His hope and God was His blessing. When we read the Psalms, of which David penned so many himself, we can find our own hearts resonating with many of his deep emotions. Psalms 23, one of the earliest classics passed on from generation to generation, promises recovery against all odds. It is in Verse 5 that David makes reference to a practice that he would have known as a shepherd:
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Shepherds would often place olive oil on the head and ears of their sheep to protect them from the insects and infection. This is why David makes a reference to how his head is anointed with oil to protect him. Olive oil was used with anointing because of the powerful symbol it represented. It is why we use olive oil for anointing and prayer when we ask God to heal. For thousands of years it has been the symbol of healing. If you have ever been part of an anointing service or have been anointed yourself, maybe even with olive oil infused with different fragrances, there is something quite unique and special about the whole process that is difficult to put into writing.
At the One project gatherings, at the end of two days of worship with all eyes focused on Jesus, we would end our time together with the high moment of a communion service. We would celebrate all that Jesus has done, is doing, and will do forever. Like Paul, we simply took time to give thanks to God and to ask for His help in being blessings to others. We began the tradition of taking a single drop of olive oil—a symbol of the healing power of God—and speaking words of blessing into the lives of one another before we went our separate ways.
That is what Paul wishes for all of us. That is why he too ends with this amazing anthem blessing our lives. He wants us to be a blessing to everyone else.
Recalibrate: Jesus blesses us so that we may bless others. What does it mean to live a life that is a blessing to God and to each other?
Respond: Share a pray of thanks to God for his blessings in your life.
Research: Read one of the suggested commentaries on this passage.
Remember: “To the only wise God, through Jesus the Messiah, to whom be glory to the coming ages! Amen” (Romans 16:27, KNT).
Japhet is senior pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, and was co-founder of the One project. Originally from southeast London, he served in the South England Conference for nine years—as a pastor and later as conference youth director—before moving to the United States in 2006. He is married to Becky and they have two sons, Joshua (18) and Jonah (14).
Get a few clear glasses. Fill one with water, one with some kind of juice, and another with lots of food coloring. Have you child look through each one at you to see if they can see you. See if they can tell if your eyes are open or closed when they look through the glass. Which one is easiest to see through? The one containing water is much clearer than the others. Paul tells us that the Bible makes it clearer for us to see who Jesus is. Remind your child that we can turn to the Bible to learn more about God’s love for us. It is crystal clear.
Have you ever seen a really dirty puddle? What did it look like? Could you see the bottom of the puddle or was it too icky for you to see anything? Do you think if you dropped a coin in the puddle you would be able to see it at the bottom? What about bathtub water? If you dropped a coin in your bathtub, could you see it? Try it! Paul tells us that the Bible makes it clear for us to see who Jesus is and what He has done for us. If the Bible were water, what kind would it be: a dirty puddle or a clean bath?
If you asked your friends to describe you in three words, what would they say? I recently played this game with some friends. It was amusing because we would all go back and forth discussing the three best words to describe each person. I hope that as you’ve read through this week’s passage and the Book of Romans, you’ve taken time to reflect on yourself. The big question that I want you to take away is: Are you a blessing to all? When people think about you, are they imagining you as the one stirring up drama or the one bringing peace to others’ lives? And truly, when we are a blessing to others, it is not because we ourselves are such amazing people. Through Him, we are good to all people. We aren’t just selecting our friends or those we feel deserving of our friendship. We should make a daily effort to allow Jesus’ love to fill us so that we can fill others.