The origin of anointing was from a practice of shepherds. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep’s head, they could burrow into the sheep’s ears and kill the sheep. So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep’s head. This made the wool slippery, making it impossible for insects to get near the sheep’s ears because the insects would slide off. From this, anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, and empowerment.
Peter clearly tries to show his audience that Jesus’ ministry was accredited by God. It begins with “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power,” and ends with “because God was with him.”
- In between are the words, “and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil.”
- These words remind one of Isaiah 61:1, which Luke cites Jesus as quoting when he began his ministry.
- Peter’s point is that the life and miracles of Jesus prove that Jesus was God’s special messenger.
- Jesus himself had said, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28).
As in Luke’s Gospel, the good deeds and miracles of Jesus are associated with his anointing by the Holy Spirit. This refers to what happened when the dove descended on Jesus at his baptism.
The New Testament Greek words for “anoint” are chrio, which means “to smear or rub with oil” and, by implication, “to consecrate for office or religious service”; and aleipho, which means “to anoint.” In Bible times, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing or call on that person’s life.
- A person was anointed for a special purpose—to be a king, to be a prophet, to be a builder, etc.
- There is nothing wrong with anointing a person with oil today. We just have to make sure that the purpose of anointing is in agreement with Scripture.
- Anointing should not be viewed as a “magic potion.” The oil itself does not have any power.
- It is only God who can anoint a person for a specific purpose. If we use oil, it is only a symbol of what God is doing.
Another meaning for the word anointed is “chosen one.” The Bible says that Jesus the Messiah was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit to spread the Good News and free those who have been held captive by sin. After the Messiah left the earth, He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Now all Christians are anointed, chosen for a specific purpose in furthering God’s Kingdom.
Now He who establishes us with you in the Messiah and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee
(2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
- Acts 10:38 (CSB) — 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how he went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the devil, because God was with him.
- Acts 4:26–27 (CSB) — 26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers assemble together against the Lord and against his Messiah. 27 “For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
- Daniel 9:25–26 (CSB) — 25 Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an Anointed One, the ruler, will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will be rebuilt with a plaza and a moat, but in difficult times. 26 After those sixty-two weeks the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed.
- Luke 4:18 (CSB) — 18 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 proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed,
- Isaiah 61:1 (CSB) — 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners;
- Hebrews 1:9 (CSB) — 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; this is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of joy beyond your companions.
Faith at Work: Our goal, at work, is to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah. That can be tough to do. It can bring us ridicule and persecution. We cannot deny Jesus. We must stand up for Him.