What does it mean to be anointed?

This message is modified from one which originally appeared the week of March 20, 2016. As we are approaching holy week, it would be appropriate to reflect on the meaning of Christ and his mission. 

Be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. -Isaiah 65:18

The Father and I are one. -John 10:30

Dear members and friends, 

The word Christ is neither a name nor a title, but a description used to specify those who were chosen by God for a special purpose. The English word Christ is from the Greek word christos, which is a translation of the Hebrew word Māšîa, meaning anointed, which is often translated as Messiah. In the Bible, the first one who was distinguished and anointed was Aaron, the brother of Moses, when he became the high priest, followed by King Saul. David repeated this phrase many times in I Samuel, “I will not raise my hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed. (24:10)” Being anointed is, as King David confirmed it, not just about the role and/or duty of the position, but about being the living manifestation of the will of God. The anointed in the Bible means often both the divine guidance and the empirical manifestation of the divine presence. 

It was after the destruction of both kingdoms that Israelites developed or perceived the vision of the special anointed one. The anointed would save them from all misery and oppression mainly caused by foreign powers, and restore to them their rightful prosperity and security. This is known to us as the Messianic tradition. Interestingly, it seems that the ancient Israelites developed an expectation that the Messiah of God would come and restore their rightful glory without efforts of their own. This expectation, however, is not aligned with the prophetic messages that insist on spiritual cleansing and renewal of their hearts. John the Baptizer appeared after 400 years of silence from God. And the Jews, who were descendants of the tribe of Judah, were excited and filled with hope. The climax of their hopeful expectation was the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth and his baptism by John. However, it did not take long for their hopeful expectation to turn into dire disappointment when Jesus claimed that he would not fight against the Romans. Instead, Jesus taught to love each other, even their enemy, because the true kingdom of God is not in this material world.  

My brothers and sisters in God, holy week is just around the corner. Let us take a moment of self-reflection and examine what expectations we have in the belief and hope of celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee