To anoint... literally means “to pour over.” It’s usually thought of as an outward symbol, or act, of being set apart, or marked as special, or holy.
But it also implies blessing, as in the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want... He anoints my head with oil, my cup runneth over.” To be anointed by God is to be blessed.
1. Of course, in the Bible... priests and kings were anointed when assuming their office.
2. When the temple was dedicated it was anointed... it was dedicated and set-apart as Holy unto the Lord.
3. When Jesus began his ministry we’re told the Holy Spirit anointed him to preach good news to the
4. He was also physically anointed by a woman who poured expensive perfume over his head and feet.
We often call Jesus the Messiah or the Christ, a Hebrew and Greek term meaning “The Anointed
James says that if any are sick they should call for the elders to “anoint them with oil” and pray for them. That used to be a very common practice that, for some reason, isn’t done much today. Maybe it should be! Maybe we’re missing out on the blessings of God by overlooking some of the biblical practices that we’ve abandoned.
Of course... baptism is a form of anointing... of pouring over... and marking those who follow Christ.
The anointing represents the presence of God. That is one of the reasons that perfumed oils are often used. Like the scent which you cannot see, yet you know is there... God cannot be seen but we know that God is there.
Anointing is a strange, old word, that we don’t often understand or appreciate. But it’s central to our lives as followers of Christ...
Take our lesson from Acts, today. The Holy Spirit had just been poured out on a group of Gentiles who have believed in Jesus. That’s important for us to hear, because in the early days of the church only Jews were followers of Jesus.
But the Spirit, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit brought a Roman Centurion and Peter together. The pagan, Roman Centurion and his household believed in Jesus... and the Holy Spirit came upon everyone gathered at the Centurion’s home... them just as it had come on the disciples at Pentecost.
Peter says it’s this same outpouring of the Holy Spirit that anointed Jesus. And empowered Jesus to begin his ministry of teaching and healing and redeeming God’s people.
Jesus reached out to the poor and the oppressed... the overlooked and forgotten: Jesus taught anyone who’d listen about the truth of the Kingdom and the love of God. Ultimately giving his life, and overpowering the grave for our salvation.
After his resurrection Jesus commanded that the disciples to proclaim the Gospel to the world. And as the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples... they were anointed, called, commissioned to “go into all the world, making disciples.” Much like God had anointed Jesus to preach the Good News... so Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to anoint the disciples. And they began proclaiming that same Good News.
In other words: you and I’ve been given the very same anointing... the same out pouring of God’s Spirit, that Jesus received!
Baptism is a symbol of this anointing. Just as the Holy Spirit was poured out on Jesus at his baptism... and just like the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and others as they heard the Gospel and believed... the Holy Spirit is poured out on us... anointing us... to continue the ministry of Christ in our world, today.
You and I are anointed to serve God. Your baptism was your anointing to serve.
You and I are now a holy nation, a royal priesthood... redeemed and empowered by the Spirit of Christ to do everything he did. To teach, to preach, to heal, to comfort, to restore... to bring the Kingdom of God into the places we’re called to serve.
In fact, Jesus said we would do even greater things... Greater than “turning water into wine” or “feeding multitudes” with a young boy’s lunch. Seems a tall order, right? But I assure you, if God’s Will includes you and I being part of miracles... those miracles will happen.
And another thing I can profess with complete assurance: you and I need the outpouring of God’s Spirit... the anointing of Christ’s presence... to accomplish anything for the Kingdom.
And maybe, just maybe that’s the problem with the modern church. Maybe we’ve “forgotten” our source of strength. Maybe we’ve become too formal... too comfortable... too predictable. Maybe we need to be reminded of our need, our dependence... on the power of God. The power that transforms us, can and will transform the world... if we listen... if we follow... if we obey, and open our hearts and minds and souls to the power of God working through us... we can accomplish anything Christ calls us to do.
You and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Do you believe that? Do you and I live that truth?
Remember your baptism. Acknowledge the power of Christ at work within your life... as we labor for the Kingdom.