In the Bible, Christ has many names; Master, Teacher, Lord, Son of God, and Emmanuel to name a few. Looking at Acts 4:27 today, we see another: the Anointed One. Anointing is a physical act with a deeply spiritual meaning, where oil or some sort of perfume is poured one someone’s head or applied to some object to mark it as particularly holy, or set aside for some notably divine purpose. Typically, in biblical times, it was done to kings as part of a coronation ceremony, or by homeowners to guests as a sign of welcome and thankfulness. To be anointed is to be given the favor of God, and an act of recognizing a deep spiritual connection with the Lord.
We know that in Jesus’s time on earth, God made clear he was symbolically anointed, set forth as the most holy King, a true leader and ruler of God’s people. Jesus himself recognizes the duties put forth before Him by God and the importance of anointment in demonstrating this, especially in the story of His anointing told in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and John 12, where he says “In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.” Or as Luke described in Acts 10:38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” But this term, used throughout the Bible, seems to frequently be used as well to describe those who follow Christ. A few examples.
Psalm 23:5 – “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Psalm 45:7 – “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
Psalm 105:15 – “he allowed no one to oppress them; he rebuked kings on their account, saying, ‘Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!’”
Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”
1 John 2:20 – “You have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.”
The central theme around referring to the body of believers as “the anointed” is that through our faith in God and our spiritual death and rebirth provided from grace through baptism, we have been truly made and marked holy. The Lord has set us apart from the world, using the hope and faith in what is unseen to demonstrate God’s blessings dwelling within us. God has welcomed us into his kingdom and honored us as guests in His house, representative of the symbolic hospitality of anointment.
Therein lies to encouragement in Acts 4:27, where the entire world seems to have banded together to rise against Jesus, “whom you anointed.” We see this same message in Psalm 2:2 – “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed.” Since the fall of man, the world has despised and worked against those whom the Lord favors. This is epitomized in these verses where the Anointed One, the most consecrated of all, is turned against. It’s not hard to see; turn on the news or check social media and you’re likely to see an outpouring of slander and hatred against the faithful and against God’s word. But all these verses and all of God’s promises speak true: in anointing us and recognizing our faith, God has promised we will be safe from wickedness. He will make sure our cup overflows and we can continue to perform good works in His name, no matter what the weapons the world may raise against us. In Him and in His blessings, we are safe and secured. This definite truth is one we can always hold onto when the world turns against us – no matter what, when, or where, our Lord is with us.