What is the Anointing?
To answers this question we go the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Starting in Luke 4:16 we read:
He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, Because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim release to the captives, Recovering of sight to the blind, To deliver those who are crushed, And to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Thus, here in his first sermon Jesus proclaims that God’s Spirit is upon him; that he has an anointing to proclaim good news of an end of poverty to the poor, of restoration of sight to the blind and release to the oppressed. What is it that will bring about these transformations? It is the anointing of God. In a similar way the Apostle Peter describes the ministry of Jesus as he preached to Cornelius the first gentile convert as recorded Acts chapter 10 where he said “…you yourselves know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.,” Acts 10:37, 38. Again the means by which Jesus was able to bring transformation in the lives those he encountered was by the anointing of God. But what is this anointing?
From the Old Testament we understand that the practice of anointing individuals with oil was an act of consecration performed on those who were selected by God for special office such as prophets, priests or kings. The act of anointing these individuals symbolize God’s selection and the special empowerment that he place on them to perform their responsibilities. The anointing is the very presence and power of God through the Holy Spirit for service. And the New Testament records the occasion when Jesus received his anointing when he was baptized by John the Baptist in Luke chapter 3: “Now it happened, when all the people were baptized, Jesus also had been baptized, and was praying. The sky was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove on him; and a voice came out of the sky, saying ‘You are my beloved Son. In you I am well pleased’,” Luke 3:21, 22.
Now, at that time, the Jews were waiting for the arrival of a Messiah, one who would bring about an age of peace and liberation from oppression; the restoration of God’s kingdom on the earth. The title ‘Messiah’ means ‘the Anointed One’ which is also what our word ‘Christ’ means. When we say the ‘Jesus is the Christ’, we are saying that Jesus is God’s Anointed One. He is anointed with God’s power.
You may wonder, why would Jesus need the anointing since he is God the Son? We understand that Jesus was both God and man. Yet when he came to earth he laid aside his divine attributes. The Apostle Paul explained Jesus’ appearance on the earth in this fashion in Philippians 2: “[Jesus], who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider it robbery to be equal with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men,” Philippians 2:6, 7. The scripture says he made himself nothing; that is, he emptied himself of his divine attributes. Up until the time he was baptized and the anointing of God came, Jesus lived on the earth as a man and dealt with the same limitations that you and I have. But then the anointing came. Jesus was empowered through the Holy Spirit with the presence of God and began to operate in God’s anointing. Thus we begin to see miracles performed such as changing water into wine, cast out evil spirits, the healing of diseases, deformities and blindness, the clamming of storms at sea, the feeding of 5000 with five loafs and two fishes and the raising of the dead.
Jesus performed these acts through God’s anointing not only to transform lives and meet needs of those he encountered but also to demonstrate to us how to use it. The anointing is God’s manifest power and presence which, according to the prophet Isaiah, removes burdens and destroys yokes of bondage: “ It shall happen in that day, that his burden shall depart from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed by reason of the anointing,” Isaiah 10:27.
It is the anointing of the Anointed One that removes burdens and destroys yokes. It transforms the lives today just like it did when Jesus walked the earth. Do you and I who have received Christ have that same anointing? Yes, we also have access to the same anointing that Christ had. The scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:27 that we are part of the body of Christ. That is, we are the body of his anointing. That is why we are known as Christians; followers of the Anointed One. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1 that:
Now he who establishes us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God; who also sealed us, and gave us the down payment of the Spirit in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22
And in 2 Corinthians 4:
But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7
And the Apostle John writes in 1 John 2:
As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him. 1 John 2:27
How can we operate in Christ’s anointing?
Yet, while all Christians have access to Jesus’ anointing not many of his followers operate in it. Why is that? It is because we do not walk in the same manner that he walked (1 John 2:6). We have to learn what it means to abide in Christ and in his anointing. Jesus told us in John chapter 15 that he is the true vine, our only source for God’s anointing. We have to abide or stay connected to him or else we can not accomplish anything. I believe that there must be three essential ingredients to in our lives for us to operate in Christ’s anointing:
- Let the word abide in us
- Live by faith
- Walk in love
Let the word abide in us
The first ingredient is letting the word of God abide in us. When tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread Jesus quoted this verse from the book of Deuteronomy: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” Matthew 4:4. The word of God is our source of spiritual nourishment. It is our spiritual fuel. Just like you can not travel from Washington D.C. to New York City in a car with an empty fuel tank nether can any of us accomplish the assignment that God has given us without taking in adequate amounts of God’s word on a daily basis. It also our source for illumination, “The entrance of your words gives light.” From hearing the word faith is produced in our lives as Paul states in Romans 10:17. And it produces freedom: Jesus said that when we abide in his word, that is live according to his teachings, we will know the truth and that truth will make us free (John 8:31, 32).
Thus we see the advantages of word of God in our lives, but it is not enough to just read or listen to the word. Jesus taught in the sermon on the Mount that the one who hears his words and but does not put them into practice is like one the build his house on the sand and collapsed when the winds and floods began to beat against it. The Apostle James warns us not to be merely hearer of the word. One who only hears the word deceives himself. But the one who is a doer of the word, James says, will be blesses in what he does (James 1:22-25). And to be a doer one must get God’s word into their heart and mind. As it says in the book of Proverbs, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7 KJV. Why is this important? Well, a person can not act in a way that is inconsistence with the image of him or herself which he or she carries on the inside. So having the image of what God intents for us on the inside is what counts.
You see, Jesus could operate with God’s anointing because he first found himself in the scriptures. From those scriptures he developed an image of what his Father wanted to accomplish thought the anointing. He then believed and acted on what the Old Testament foretold about the promised Messiah. You maybe asking, how do I know that Jesus found himself in the scripture? On a number of occasions Jesus citing the scriptures references concerning him: One occasion was what we read earlier when he preached in the synagogue in Nazareth. Another is in John 5 where Jesus told the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me.,” John 5:39. And another instance took place after his resurrection; while speaking to two disciples traveling on the road to the village of Emmaus Jesus said, “Didn’t the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” Beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he explained to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24:26, 27. How did Jesus find himself in the scripture? It was not through just reading the scripture but through the practice of meditating on the word as advocated in Psalms 1 and 119. What is mediation? Meditation is the thoughtful deliberation of the meaning and the application of a passage of scripture. It is where we slow down and focus on the meaning of a particular passage and consider its various implications and applications for us and our lives.
Can we do the same with the God’s word today? Yes we can because the Bible, especially the New Testament is full of affirmations about what our lives can attain through our union with Christ and his anointing. So as we immerse ourselves into God’s word and ponder its meaning for our lives a transformation takes place within us. Paul told us in Romans 12 to not be conformed to this world but to be transformed, from the inside out, by the renewing of our minds.
Without a renewed mind we can not accept the things of God. His ways, you see, are higher than our ways; God’s ways are beyond what a natural human mind can accept and comprehend. That why the Bible says that the natural, nonspiritual man, “…doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Corinthians 2:14. A renewed mind is necessary in order for us to make use of God’s anointing. And that transformation comes through meditation in God’s word. Through meditation we develop an image of the purpose that God wants to achieve in our lives and the methods that he wants us to follow and an image of his rulership and his way of doing things also known as the kingdom of God. As Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you,” Luke 17:21.
Thus, as we let God’s word abide in our heart through mediation our minds are renewed and we develop an image of God’s ideal for each of our lives. Then we are able to operate according to the principles of God’s kingdom. Thus a new reality takes shape inside our hearts, but it does stay not confined to the inside. As we turn now to the second ingredient which is faith we discover that the things we are expectant about on the inside will one day manifest them self in the physical world.
Living by Faith
When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome, he reminded believers that, “The righteous shall live by faith,” Romans 1:17. That is, faith is the lifestyle of those who have been made righteous through Christ and his anointing. Now, before we became followers of Christ we live according to the world’s standards. We did things according to our own strength and wisdom. We may have depended on luck or fate but we really never could be certain of divine aid in any of our endeavors. But now, we have a relationship with the all powerful God of the universe. He is not far-off or unconcerned with our circumstances. Rather he cares for us and is available for us take advantage of his aid, guidance and provision. This was one of the messages that God sought to convey through the writers of the New Testament, that we can count God’s word as trustworthy so that we can be confident in the certainly of the fulfillment of God revelation to us.
In his word God provides us many examples of men and women of faith. One of the greatest examples was that of Abraham. At a time when paganism as rampant and God was without a people that he could call his own, the Lord found Abraham or Abram as we was first known called him to leave his people and travel to another land that he would give to him and his descendants. Thus, Abram obey and made his home in the land of Canaan. Yet, Abram had no children. But later God made a covenant with Abram that said:
- He would be Abram’s God
- He would give him many descendants
- He would give him the land of Canaan
- Abram would now be know as Abraham, the Father of Many Nations
- Abraham wife, Sarai, would now be called Sarah, which means ‘princess’
Without any evidence or guarantees Abraham obeyed. And God revealed himself to Abraham as God Almighty or El-Shaddai, the all sufficient one. What about, you? Have you realized that our God is the all sufficient one, that there is nothing too hard for him and that his grace is sufficient for you? Abraham took that revelation and held on to it. Years went by and he waited for a son. At one point, he and Sarah took matters into their own hands and succeeded in having a child by the maid servant Hagar. But this only delayed things for Abraham and Sarah for another fifteen years. Then when Abraham was a hundred years old the Lord appeared and promised that his wife would give birth to a son within one year. And as promised the next year Sarah gave birth to Isaac.
Thought it looked impossible and it seemed that he and Sarah would never have a child, Abraham went against natural wisdom and thinking that is based in what he could see and understand and continued to trust and believe God’s promise. Remember that the Lord told us in Proverbs 3 not to rely on our own understanding. Abraham took hold of the promise made by God held firmly to it. In Romans 4:18-21 the Apostle Paul describes the faith that Abraham demonstrated:
Who in hope believed against hope, to the end that he might become a father of many nations, according to that which had been spoken, “So will your seed be.” Without being weakened in faith, he didn’t consider his own body, already having been worn out, (he being about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. Yet, looking to the promise of God, he didn’t waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Romans 4:18-21
Abraham did not entertain doubts; he rejected them. It was his confidence and expectation in El-Shaddai, the All Sufficient One that strengthened and empowered him to become fully persuaded that his God was able to do what he had promised. And that is how we are to live. If the word of God is abiding within us then faith will arise in our spirits for faith come from hearing the word of Christ, which is the word of the anointed one and his anointing. Because of this word abides in us we know God’s character and faithfulness. We understand what his word says we can do and what we can become. And then by standing on these promises we wait expectantly till God brings them to completion in the proper time.
This is to be our lifestyle; from the tiniest matter to the biggest challenge. Our approach for dealing with every issue is faith: dependence, trust and confidence, in the Lord. It is a lifestyle that pleases God because as the writer of Hebrews tell us that, “Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to God,” Hebrews 11:6. And it is also an attitude; an attitude of continual expectancy. This is the kind of expectancy that the prophet Isaiah spoke about in Isaiah 40:31, “but those who wait for [and are confident in] THE LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”
What about you? Do you wake up each morning with an attitude of expectancy? No, then maybe you should begin raising your expectations by applying the principles of abiding in the word, living by faith and leaning to stopping paying attention to only what you can see. For instance, what kind of day would you like to have tomorrow; a great day? Then start expecting it. Do not settle for what you see; expect something better because you are God’s child, you have his word abiding in you and you are living by faith.
Would you like to have a great week? Then start expecting it. What about a great month or even a great year? Start expecting it. Or what kind of family do you want to have: a happy family. Start expecting it. Start expecting to receive all that God has for you because you are anointed. You can even have an attitude of expectancy like Jesus had. He came, you remember, to release captives and to restore sight to the blind, would you like to do the same. Start expecting it. Jesus told us that most assuredly those who steadfastly believe in him will do the same work as he and event great works! Start expecting it. How do we do those kinds of works? It is through his anointing.
So as we abide in his word and live by faith we will begin to see a transformation taking place in our lives. Yet there is still one more ingredient necessary to operate in God’s anointing: to walk in love. God’s kind of self-giving love needs to be our motivation and our method. Now many of us are raised to think that love is a feeling or an attraction. But that kind of human love is conditional and short-lived. The kind of love that God demonstrates toward us is a love that accepts us even when we are unlovely: “But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” Paul tells us in Romans 5:8. It is the kind of love that gives its very best to those in need. It is the kind of love that keeps on giving. Such love is beyond what we can do in our limited human capacity. But it is possible for us to love others in this manner when we tape into God’s capacity by faith through the anointing.
In 1 John 4:8 we read that God is love. It is God’s very nature, you see, to demonstrate this kind of love. And if you are born again then you also have same nature too for the Bible tells us that God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, yes that is the anointing that he has given us (Romans 5:5). He has made the anointing available for us to minister his love to mankind. It is by obedience to the words of Christ, the Anointed One that according to the Apostle John makes God’s love becomes complete in our lives: “But whoever keeps his word, God’s love has most assuredly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him,” 1 John 2:5. And it is this demonstrating God’s love that brings results through our faith because, as Paul tells us in Galatians 5:6, that faith works through love. That means that if we are not practicing love towards each other, then our faith will be ineffective. In fact, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that if someone has enough faith to move mountains but he does not have love, he is a useless nobody.
Thus as members of the body of Anointed One we need to recognize the ability to love that God as given us. We have to make a decision to love as Christ loved us. And we have to mediate on his love for us and allow its influence to take hold of our lives just as the Apostle Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus:
that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19
When we understand and experience how much love God has for us, we will comprehend his fullness: to know how willing he is to aid us, guide us and protect us. Paul tells us that, “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:38, 39 and that his love never fails, Corinthians 13:8. When we comprehend such love we will not be so concerned with our own needs or safety because we know that God will take care of these issues. With such freedom we can go forth and minister life to those we encounter.
Take God’s anointing to the world
The Lord has a purpose for each of our lives. He has anointed and empowered us as his representatives, empowered to minister to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of a lost and dying world. Therefore we need to seek to understand the purpose which God has assigned each of us, discover and develop the spiritual gifts that he was given us. Through our own strength we can accomplish nothing, but through the anointing of God we can transform our world.
Copyright © 2010-2011 by Alan Pasho, www.disciplepedia.org. All rights reserved.
Scriptures taken from the Word English Bible (WEB)