“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news. . . .”
— Luke 4:18
Have you ever spilled olive oil or some other kind of oil? Oil can be messy to work with and hard to clean up. Our experience with that may make it hard to grasp the biblical beauty of being “anointed” with oil.
In the Old Testament, people who were anointed with oil were set apart for special service to God for his people. When the Israelites anointed someone, they took olive oil and blended it with expensive spices (Exodus 30:22-25). Then they rubbed, smeared, or poured the concoction on the head of the person being appointed. Priests and prophets were anointed with this oil. Kings were anointed with it too.
The most important anointing in the Bible doesn’t involve oil, however. When Jesus returned to his hometown synagogue, he opened God’s Word and declared that he had been anointed with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God himself anointed Jesus to proclaim the good news of salvation.
As we confess with the Apostles’ Creed, God anointed his Son, the long-expected Messiah, “the Anointed One,” the Christ, to be our Prophet, Priest, and King. With his word, he guides us. With his sacrifice, he redeems us. And as our King, he guides and protects us.
Jesus was anointed for us. And he anoints us with his Spirit to serve him in this world.
Jesus, you are the Christ, the Anointed One, our Savior. Help us, your anointed servants, to share your love with the world. Amen.