LEAVING THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS #11
JOHN’S BAPTISM AND THE SPIRIT’S ANOINTING
BASIC TEXT for “Baptisms” Study: Hebrews 6:1, 2
Vocabulary: 2 chief Greek words for “anoint”:
(1) ἀλείφωG218 - “anoint”; for refreshment, healing, hospitality, burial; e.g., Luke 7:38; James 5:14. This is not the sacred, ceremonial anointing. I believe it is important not to confuse these two.
(2) χρίωG5548 (family G5545-G5548) - “anoint”; for consecration; Luke 4:18, Acts 4:27, Acts 10:38, 2 Corinthians 1:21, Hebrews 1:9; of Jesus and Christians. In the Septuagint, oil is used with the "anointing" of the high priest, e.g., , lit., "Thou shalt take of the oil of the anointing and pour it on his head and anoint him." In , etc., it is spoken of as "a holy anointing oil." But in chrisma stands for the "anointed" one, "Christ," the noun standing by metonymy for the person Himself.
Jesus’ name was not “Jesus Christ” during his youth. To the Jews such would mean “son of Christ.” Rather, “as was supposed” (Luke 3:23) Jesus was the “son of Joseph”. When Peter along with the apostles confessed Jesus as “the Christ” the confession is that He is God’s promised Messiah, King, Priest and Prophet. “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:69). “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
One of the purposes of John’s baptizing was to manifest Jesus as the promised Christ of prophecy; i.e., the Son of God. God had told John “the Baptizer”, “Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33b). Notice the timelinei: (1) Jesus is baptized by John in water; (2) He comes up out of the water; (3) the Holy Spirit descends upon Him; and (4) God speaks, “This is My Beloved Son”. As was promised to him, John beholds the Holy Spirit descending in a bodily form upon Jesus and heard the voice of God. John henceforth began testifying that Jesus was the Son of God (John 1:34). A result was the movement of some of John’s disciples to the discipleship of Jesus. The first thing that one of John’s disciples Andrew did “was to find his brother Simon and say to him, ‘We have found the Anointed One!’ (which is translated ‘Messiah’)” (John 1:41, ISV; YLT). The conclusion is that Jesus is manifested at His baptism as the Christ of prophecy.
The Greek for the word “Christ” is “christ(os)”ii; the Hebrew is “messiah”; their meaning in English is “anointed”. The Greek definition, according to Strong’s Dictionary, is “probably akin to furnishing through contact, light upon; [basically] to smear with oil; by implication, consecration.” Notice that there is an implied definition. “Anoint” simply can mean “consecration.” Consecration equals “con - ‘with, together’ + sacrare - ‘to make or declare sacred’ for service.”iii
“Anointed With The Holy Spirit.” Soon after His baptism, Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth from the prophecy in Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18, 19). He then said, “This day is this fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4: 21, KJV).
Some Time Has Elapsed After His Baptism. On our initially reading verse 21, it may appear to us that Jesus is saying that the very day that Jesus is reading Isaiah 61 in Nazareth was when the Holy Spirit came upon Him, when He was anointed, and when He did the marvelous acts mentioned in Isaiah 61. The verb, “fulfilled”, however, is in the “perfect tense” in the Greek and is not in the present tense. In English the perfect tense means simply that the fulfilling would have happened in the past. However, the perfect tense in Greek means “an action has been completed and the finished results are continuing and in full effect”iv In other words, Jesus was not saying that “this” was the actual day that He was anointed, or first preached the gospel to the poor, or healed the brokenhearted, or recovered the sight to the blind. Rather, He had done these things and the audience has heard of them. The Greek authority A.T. Robinson words the passage like this, “Today this scripture (Isaiah 61:1,2, just read) stands fulfilled in your ears.”
Luke 4:14 and 15’s context shows indeed that Jesus had already been preaching for some timev since his baptism. Jesus had returned from the wilderness tempataions “in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all” (glorified obviously for the things read in Isaiah 61; i.e., His preaching and ministration of the Spirit’s miraculous power).
History of “God’s Anointed.” God actually had three kinds of leadersvi who were “anointed” in the Old Testament. First, there were the priests (Exodus 28:41; Leviticus 4:3, 5; 4:16); second, the kings (1 Samuel 10:1vii; 1 Samuel 2:10, 35; 2 Samuel 1:14; Psalms 2:2; 18:50; Habakkuk 3:13; the term is used also of Cyrus, Isaiah 45:1); and third, some of the Jewish prophets (1 Kings 19:16; Psalm 105:15). Note that the prophet Elisha’s anointment did not include oil but only the placing of Elijah’s mantle upon him.
Jesus is the unique “Christ”; i.e., He is God’s Anointed who fills all three offices in one. He is high priest (“after the order of Melchizedec,” Psalm 110:4), king (David’s son, 2 Samuel 7:13; Psalm 110:1, 2), and prophet (“like Moses”, Deuteronomy 18:15). He was proclaimed by John as “the (Messianic) Son of God” (Psalm 2:7).
Was Jesus Anointed Like The Aaronic Priests? The anointing of the Aaronic priests is described in Leviticus 8. The priest was washed wholly with water (8:6), anointed with physical oil (8:30), and presented to the public (8:3). This pattern is very much like what occurred to Jesus during His manifestation at John’s baptism. This reminds us that the Hebrew writer so described the OT priesthood as being a parable (Hebrews 9:9), a shadow, and an image of the good things of Jesus (Hebrews 10:1-3; 8:5).
How and when was Jesus Anointed? Jesus read from Isaiah 61 that announced that the Spirit is upon Him because of God’s anointment. The Spirit was upon Jesus because Jesus was anointed by God. “Because of”: i.e., “on account of: - by reason of.” It is striking that Jesus is never mentioned as being anointed by John nor does any man do any smearing of oil for His anointment.
Acts 4:27 states that Jesus had been anointed by God Himself. To Cornelius, Peter said that God “anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power” (Acts 10:38). “With the Holy Spirit and power” indicates the instrument and not substance.viii It is not saying that the Holy Spirit was oil to be smeared as some might teach but rather it had to be the visible affirmation (along with God’s voice) of who Jesus was. “The Spirit was upon Jesus because He was the Anointed.” The
THROW OUT THE LIFELINE
i Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:22; John 1:29.
ii chrioG5548. Vine’s Expository Dictionary: “Among the Greeks it was used in other senses than the ceremonial, but in the Scriptures it is not found in connection with secular matters.”
iv Robinson’s Word Pictures. In Greek: The progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence. Contrast with English “perfect tense” indicates a completed past action, period. -http://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#AKTIONSART.
v Cf. Matthew 4:12. The synoptic gospels indicate that this occurs after the death of John the Baptist.
vii Jewish and in some cases, Gentile, notably the Syrian, Hazael, 1 Kings 19:15, and even a Persian king, Isaiah 45:1.
viii It is in the dative case (“dative of means or instrumental”); compare it to Eph. 2:8- “By grace are you saved through the Faith”; “by means of grace” is dative case of means.
ixRobinson’s Word Pictures. Comment on Luke 4:18 is “anointed” for his mission by the Father’s voice (Luke 3:22).