Every Christian can and should pronounce benediction over people meaningfully. Jesus constituted his genuine followers as ‘a kingdom of priests’. Part of a priest’s ministry is the privilege of benediction – from Latin, ‘to say well’: bene [well] diction [speech].
. ‘The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying,
‘Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
the Lord bless you and keep you,
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you,
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”’
The book of Genesis abounds in the use of the words bless, blessed and blessing in the generations long before ever the family of Aaron was ordained as priests. Previously it was a father’s privilege and duty to bless his people (eg Isaac’s blessing of Jacob, Numbers 27:23-29; Jacob’s blessing his sons and grandsons, Numbers 48:9-20; 49:1-28). But God also blessed his people directly – and in so doing gave us insights into the practicalities of blessing.
Ingredients of divine blessing
As soon as animal life appeared ‘God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth’ (Genesis 1:21-22). Then when he created humans in his own image ‘God blessed them and … said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”’ just as he had pronounced benediction on animal creation, adding: ‘… and subdue it and have dominion over the fish …and over the birds …and over every living thing that moves on the earth’ (Genesis 1: 28). True blessing bestows:
 The image of God – ‘be fruitful’, read it in the light of Galatians 5:22-23 and it implies the reproduction in us of all the moral characteristics of the nature of God. Now, 2 Peter 1:3-11 suggests that it takes diligent application of one’s heart and will to develop these qualities. But as priests we can also impart some aspects to others, especially peace as I once experience when I was distressed that I was unable to fulfil a promised duty and had to apologise to a minister of a different church in my town; he released me from my promise with three words, ‘Peace, my brother’ [see Numbers 6:26] and I instantly felt blessed with shalom from head to toe, from my inner depths to my fingertips!
 The increase of God – ‘multiply and fill the earth’ (as Acts 1:8). We surely feel blessed when we see people yield to the Lordship of Christ and so increase the ranks of his kingdom. Then, joined with other Christians, as we bless one another the church of Christ ‘increaseth with the increase of God’ (Colossians 2:19 KJV).
 The impact of God – not trapped by circumstances but exercising ‘dominion over’ situations in creative ways, as God did over chaos and ‘saw that it was all good’.
* These ingredients recur throughout Genesis (see Genesis 9:1,7; 17:16,20; 26:12-14; 28:3).