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The anointing of God
- Jacob Ninan
The other day I was watching a video of a preacher speaking 'powerfully'--with loud voice and excitement--about how God was going to anoint some of those who were listening, quoting He.1:9. But even though he read the full verse, he was only talking about how God was going to anoint the people, without mentioning how this particular anointing mentioned in this verse was given to Jesus because He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. He did not also mention that this anointing was to give Jesus a higher level of gladness than everyone else. What the listeners may have understood from this message, because of a lot of exposure to similar use of the term 'anointing' by many other preachers, could be to refer to an experience of the power of God coming upon their lives. But what we see when we read this verse carefully is that this anointing that made Jesus more glad in His heart than everyone else was actually a mark of God's pleasure over Him when He saw how Jesus loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.
Anointing with oil is used in the Old Testament for different purposes such as ordaining people for God's service or setting apart inanimate things such as vessels for use in God's service. In the New Testament the elders of the church are instructed to anoint sick people with oil and pray for them so that they may be healed (Jas.5:14). But in this use of the word anointing in He.1:9, the anointing came from God upon Jesus because He was pleasing to the Father. This anointing was not for Jesus to do any ministry to the others, but for Him to enjoy the Father's pleasure over His life. The Father announced publicly at the time of Jesus' baptism that He was well pleased with Him (Mt.3:17). This anointing was given to Jesus in His personal life, a mark of God's pleasure, irrespective of whether others were blessed by it or not.
Shall we seek for such an anointing over us? In one sense, what else shall we look for more earnestly than anything else than to receive approval from God? For many godly people who have lived on this earth, there was nothing more important than God's approval and being welcomed by Jesus on their arrival in heaven with, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt.25:21). If we can receive this commendation from Jesus then we will recognise that every hardship we went through here on this earth was worth it. But what He.1:9 indicates is that we can have this sign of approval from God even while we are still on earth.
To know that we are pleasing to the Lord is its own reward, especially when we go through difficult times on earth or when some people are against us. Nothing pleases God as much as our faithfulness with the abilities, things and opportunities we have been given and our obedience to Him in the face of opposition from our own desires and people. People may be impressed with great achievements. But God greatly values faithfulness in secret (Mt.6:6) and in little things (Lk.16:10).