Sermon Blog

an interactive blog from winona lake grace brethren church

Anointed – 1 John 2:26-27

February 1, 2018

Our presidential inaugurations are so … sanitary. In OT times, leaders were “crowned” by anointing them with oil. Messiah and Christ both mean “anointed,” in Hebrew and Greek respectively. At WLGBC, there is still anointing with oil when the elders pray for the sick. When we do it, it is a small sign of the cross on the forehead with a finger dipped in oil. The Catholics call that a chrism, the same word used in 1 John 2 for anointing. However, the OT anointing was a bit more oil than that. In Psalm 133, David writes, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes.” That is probably a cup or more of oil!

OT symbols were usually an amplification of a physical thing: a bath washed away real dirt, a baptism (mikvah) washed away spiritual dirt. Oil on the head was used for marking one as physically honored (Psa 23:5, Luke 7:46), and a king was anointed with oil as a spiritual honor. Which brings us to 1 John 2:26-27. John refers to anointing as a mode of teaching. I don’t believe that anointing is referred to anywhere else as a means of conveying teaching. To be honest, I do not know what this picture represents. I have to take it at face value, and I see the spiritual side of it, but I cannot see why John uses a picture of oil for learning, unless the teaching is supposed to “soak in” to your head like oil into your skin. But there it is: “The anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things.

A possibility is that since oil represents the Holy Spirit, and the “Holy Spirit … teaches you all things,” (John 14:26) then this is a picture of that. Please comment back with your insights.
— SF
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Posted in: 1 John, Uncategorized