Anointed in the Anointed One
Rev. Charles Westby, Pastor
March 11, 2020

As we look at how Jesus fulfills things or themes in the Old Testament Scriptures, we build on the theme of anointing. I hope that the things we look at this evening will give meaning to our being anointed ones in Jesus, the Anointed One.

The first time in the Scriptures we encounter anointing was when Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, poured oil on a rock. It was when Jacob had the dream of a ladder reaching up into heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it. The Lord was standing at the top. He spoke to Jacob the promises He had spoken to Abraham and to Isaac before him (Genesis 28:10-15).

When Jacob woke up, he called that place Bethel, the house of God. He did that because the Lord had appeared to him in the dream. He then set up the rock he had used as a pillow and poured oil on it as he gave that place the name, Beth-El (Genesis 28:16-19). The oil in that context was associated with God’s presence and promises.

We fast forward to the commands and instructions God gave to Moses after the Lord had brought the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt through the Red Sea and through the blood of the Passover lamb. The Lord instructed Moses to set apart and ordain Aaron for service as priest, as well as Aaron’s sons, by taking the anointing oil and pouring it on his head to anoint him (Exodus 29:7). The Lord gave a specific recipe for this anointing oil. You can read about that in Exodus 30, starting at verse 22.

The Lord then commanded Moses to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the testimony, and all the furnishings and utensils used in the tent of meeting with the special oil. The purpose of the anointing with this oil was to make all of these things holy for use in the Lord’s service. The Lord also instructed Moses to anoint Aaron and his sons with the oil to consecrate them as priests (Exodus 30:26-31). At that time—though not any longer—the Lord used oil as a physical sign of setting apart and consecrating for the Lord’s service. (Ordination under the new covenant, for example is done with “laying on of hands” (Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:22)

The anointing of someone in the Old Testament to set them apart for service to the Lord gave rise to calling that person an “anointed one.” The word for anointed one in Hebrew is mashiach, from which we get the English word Messiah. This is Christos in Greek, which becomes Christ in English. So the Scriptures could speak of the mashiach or anointed priest in Leviticus (e.g., Leviticus 4:5).

But the enduring concept of the anointed one did not develop from anointing priests for service in the tent of meeting. It arose from the appointing of kings in Israel.

After the people entered the promised land and after the time of the judges, the people of Israel demanded to have a king (1 Samuel 8). The Lord chose Saul to become king. He was anointed as such by Samuel the prophet. Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head and Saul became king. As the anointed one, Saul was placed as prince over God’s people to rule over them and save them from the hands of their enemies (1 Samuel 10:1-2). This is the origin of the concept of the Mashiach, the Messiah, the anointed one.

Saul later disobeyed God in a very serious way. So God rejected Saul from being king (1 Samuel 15). He chose David instead (1 Samuel 16). Samuel made known the Lord’s choosing of David by anointing Him with the oil to make him king. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward (1 Samuel 16:13).

King David became the prime example of the anointed one, because he sought to serve the Lord with his whole heart. Of course, he messed up big time in the adultery with Bathsheba and the arranged killing of her husband Uriah. But the Lord brought David back to repentance and faith. “Against you have I sinned,” confessed David. “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence and take not the Holy Spirit from me,” he prayed (Psalm 51:4, 10-11 ESV).

As God’s promise of the coming Messiah developed, however, God made the promise to king David that the true and everlasting Messiah would be one of his descendants (2 Samuel 7:1-13). The promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that one of their offspring, their seed, would bring the blessing to the nations (Genesis 12:3; 26:4; 28:14) got carried on through King David in the idea of the Messiah, the Anointed One.

The Lord developed further the idea of the Messiah through the prophet Isaiah. Through Isaiah the Lord spoke of His servant, His chosen. The Lord promised to put His Spirit upon Him (Isaiah 42:1). Later, this Servant spoke as the Messiah and said: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, . . . to bind up the broken hearted . . . to grant those who mourn in Zion . . . a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit” (Isaiah 61:1-3a).

Now the Messiah is the anointed one because He is anointed with the Holy Spirit. The anointing with oil drops out and ceases to play any role in the relation between the Messiah and God accomplishing salvation through Him. The Messiah anointed with the Holy Spirit will accomplish the salvation promised by the Lord.

If ashes is the symbol of sorrow over sin, then giving the headdress instead of ashes teaches that the Messiah, anointed with the Spirit, will bring forgiveness and God’s grace. If death and loss as a result of sin causes mourning, then this Messiah gives the oil of gladness of life and hope. If fear of wondering what God thinks and whether He is with us brings about a faint spirit, then this Messiah, anointed with the Spirit, gives the garment of praise instead of the faint spirit.

And then something even more wonderful is promised through Isaiah. The Lord promises to give the same Spirit that is on the Anointed One to all His people. “I will pour out my Spirit upon the offspring of Jacob,” He says. This will be like pouring water on thirsty ground (Isaiah 44:3).

This promise is true for you and me since all of God’s promises are “Yes” for you in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:19).

Now fast forward to a new day. It is the day that Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized by him at the Jordan River. As Jesus was coming out of the River, heaven was opened to Him and the Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove. He is shown to be the Anointed One promised by the Lord through the prophets. He begins the ministry of defeating the devil, obtaining forgiveness, and defeating death. As the Son, He does this also in the power of the Spirit, so that in Him, the Spirit will also give us faith and life and resurrection.

Now fast forward to another new day. It is the day that you were brought or came to be baptized. There water was applied to you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. And there you received your anointing as child of God in Jesus through the water and the word (Ephesians 5:26). The anointing you received there was the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This anointing also comes and is renewed and refreshed through the Gospel. Anointing with oil is not in the picture.

This is the same Spirit with which Jesus was anointed and undertook His work for you as your Messiah, your King and Savior. He also undertook it as your Messiah Priest, who offered the sacrifice of His own blood to take away your sin.

And this Spirit is given to you to glorify Christ to your soul (John 16:14). He is given to testify to your spirit that you are redeemed and child of God in Jesus (Romans 8:16-17). He is given to give you faith in Christ and God’s grace in Him (1 Corinthians 3:6ff). He is given to give life to your mortal body in resurrection (Romans 8:11).

And this Spirit is given as God’s love poured into your hearts (Romans 5:5). It is given to empower you in love over against the selfish and loveless ways of your sinful flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). It is given so that you love God and God’s ways and are humble to serve Him in Jesus’s Name according to His Word, for the good of those around you. God gives the Spirit to produce in you and your life the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

We talk about Jesus a lot as the Messiah, the Christ. But have you ever thought of yourself this way, as an anointed one in the Anointed One? It is true. May the same Spirit, with whom Jesus was anointed, bless you and strengthen you in Christ and His service, since you are an anointed one in Him. Amen.



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