Have You Been Anointed Yet?

By Neil Earle

Queen Elizabeth II (played by Claire Foy) is anointed. Image Credit: The Crown (episode: “Smoke and Mirrors”, Netflix) 2016. Screenshot.

There are few more religious or churchly words than “anointed.”

We hear preachers say, this man has powerful anointing. Or in my church it is a question to those really ill, have you been anointed for healing? The latter refers to our ministers daubing a little drop of oil on people’s foreheads when they ask for healing – borrowed from instructions in the early church to both pray and anoint with oil those who are sick.

The Episcopal, Catholic and other churches call it “unction” and use it on special occasions of healing and setting apart for special service. Kings and queens are usually anointed with oil, borrowing a tradition strongly recorded in the Old Testament where kings, priests and prophets were usually anointed before setting out on their task.

In that sense I find it an encouraging and upbeat practice especially since oil was chosen for divine setting apart and such a vital part of life in ancient times, oil being used for everything from cooking to a major item of Israel’s export trade to a mild laxative. Gospel readers are familiar with the Mount of Olives outside Jerusalem and the Garden of Gethsemane (oil-press). Its medicinal uses were and are well-known and its presence was used as a symbol for gladness while three texts tout it as a term connoting nourishment or prosperity:

A Quantum Leap

This whole subject takes on a radically more upward and heavenly dimension when we realize that Jesus’ usual surname as “the Christ” is actually a title built around the Greek word “Christos” from “chrio” or “anointing” from which we get the word “chrism” today. In 1 John 2:20-27 the writer John makes a pertinent point for Christians resisting a dangerous heresy in his day by reminding them they have already received “the anointing,” in this case the Greek derivative is almost identical with our English “charisma.”

Who doesn’t want more charisma?

“But you have received an anointing from the holy One and all of you know the truth,” John tells his disciples, concluding with a reference to the anointing that is real and not counterfeit.

There is a linkage here to one of the Bible’s grand and glorious subjects: the Holy Spirit.

What the Spirit Gives You

For believers the Holy Spirit fulfills and completes Jesus’ ministry as Jesus himself prophesied. Here are some if the main expressions of the Spirit in our lives:

And so on and so on. Longtime Christians who have walked with the Holy Spirit across their lives can barely imagine how people can cope with life on a daily basis without the gift of the Holy Spirit, that invisible, immortal chrism for heaven that is the Christian’s daily staff and stay.

How about you: have you been anointed yet? Have you experienced the peace and optimism that can only come from a deepened relationship with the Son of God and his Father in heaven? Acts 2:38 is your best path forward. It has worked for millions and millions across history. It will work for you!