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17 March 2019

Jesus, the Anointed Man of the Spirit

The second Psalm is a messianic prophecy about Israel’s coming king who sits on David’s throne, identified as “Yahweh’s anointed” (Psalm 2:2). He is also called “My king upon holy Zion” and “my son” (verses 6-7). This king’s enthronement marks “the day Yahweh has begotten you.” The “anointed one” is Yahweh’s appointed ruler and son.
The Hebrew verb for “anoint” is mashakh, “to smear, daub; to anoint.” Its related noun is used for “anointed one,” mashiakh (cp. Leviticus 4:3Psalm 2:2Daniel 9:25). The corresponding English ‘messiah’ is derived from this latter word. The Greek noun in the Septuagint version for ‘messiah’ is Christos. From this is derived the name ‘Christ’ (cpMatthew 1: 16). Both Greek and Hebrew terms denote one who is “anointed.”
The substance used under the old system to symbolize anointing was olive oil, which was daubed or smeared on things and persons to set them apart for sacred service. It was this that marked them for royal or priestly service, not anything intrinsic to their nature.
In the Mosaic Tabernacle, things consecrated for divine service included the altar, the Tent itself, the table of showbread and various vessels used in sanctuary rituals. All were anointed with oil at the dedication of the Tabernacle (Exodus 29:3630:26-28). Persons consecrated for ritual service included priests and high priests, (Exodus 29:730:29-3040:13-15).
After the establishment of the kingdom, kings of Israel were also anointed at their accession to the throne (1 Samuel 9:1610:11 Kings 1:392 Kings 9:3Psalm 45:7).  This rite became so closely associated with the king that he was popularly designated “Yahweh’s Anointed” (1 Samuel 12:326:112 Samuel 1:14Psalm 2:245:7).
The prophecy from the second Psalm looks forward to Jesus Christ, God’s “anointed one,” “son,” and king appointed to reign over all nations.  The frequent application of this Psalm to Christ establishes him as God’s anointed king and son (Matthew 3:1717:5Mark 1:11Acts 4:25-2613:33Hebrews 1:5-65:5Revelation 2:26-2712:519:15).
Unlike the kings and priests of Israel, Jesus was anointed with God’s Spirit, not olive oil. This set him apart from all his predecessors (Isaiah 61:1-2; Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 11:1-5; 42:1; 59:21).
Nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus “anointed” with olive oil officiated by a human mediator for any religious or political office (his “anointing” by a woman in preparation for his death is a separate matter).
All four gospels record how the Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism in the River Jordan. In each case, his anointing by the Spirit was confirmed by a visual effect (“descended like a dove”) and an audible voice from heaven (“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” - Matthew 3:16-17Mark 1:10-11Luke 3:22John 1:32).
Unique at the Jordan was that Jesus was “anointed” directly by the Spirit of God. While John the Baptist administered his water baptism, no human being mediated this Spirit anointing. Other men in the Old Testament were endowed temporarily by God’s Spirit when necessary; with Jesus, the Spirit descended and remained. Moreover, he had the fullness of the Spirit, “not by measure” as with his previous men (John 3:34).
Following his baptism, Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested forty days by Satan (Matthew 4:1). Luke observes that after defeating the Devil, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and there went out a fame of him throughout the region” (Luke 4:13-14).
A few verses later Jesus proclaimed that the “Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).  It was the Spirit that equipped him for ministry.
Jesus attributed the miracles performed in his ministry not to any special power he possessed, but to the Spirit of God. Thus, for example, when accused of casting out demons by the power of Satan, Christ retorted, “But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you” (Matthew 12:28).
This was the understanding of the early church. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power to heal all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). He was “marked out as the Son of God by power, by a Spirit of Holiness” (Romans 1:4).
Thus, the Spirit of God is integral to the identity, mission, and goal of the Messiah; it is what identifies him and sets him apart from all others. But Jesus also became the one who possesses and dispenses the Spirit to others. He promised his disciples to send them the Spirit after his glorification (John 15:26), which would “bear witness of me.”
After his ascension, Jesus “sent the promise of his Father upon” his disciples to empower them for gospel proclamation (Luke 24:49). Since he began to reign at God’s right hand, he has “received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit” with which he now baptizes all who repent and believe (Acts 2:3338).
Paul writes in reference to the offices and gifts provided to the church that “having ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Ephesians 4:8). Christ’s possession of the Spirit and authority to distribute it is linked to his enthronement.
Jesus is the quintessential man of the Spirit; neither his present position nor what he is doing in his people can be understood apart from the gift of the Spirit, which sets Jesus AND his people apart for service in the kingdom of God.

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