What is the Anointing?
Jesus commissioned or called all of his disciples (that includes you and me) to go into the whole world and spread the good news of Christianity. “Jesus came to his disciples and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ ” (Matthew 28:18)
The Bible tells us that God has prepared good works in advance for each of us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) But we cannot do all this good work God has planned for us to do in our own power. Human power just isn’t capable of going into all the places that God calls us to go. Or accomplishing all the things that God calls us to accomplish. But God never expected us to do the work He gives us on our own. He never planned for us to live out our lives in powerlessness without Him!
Along with giving each of us a ministry, God also promises each of us the power to get that ministry done. And that power is Holy Spirit power. If a Christian wants to get the job done or have a ministry, that Christian needs the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The anointing is when we receive the Holy Spirit power – or when He is poured out onto us. The word “anoint” means to “pour out”. Sometimes in church we “anoint” or pour out a small amount of olive oil over the head of a person we are praying for. This oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit that we are praying will be poured out into the person who has asked for prayer. Oil is another symbol for the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told the disciples to wait and pray for the Holy Spirit to anoint them with his power. (Acts 1:4) And we are also told to pray for this promised Holy Spirit anointing. (Luke 11:13) One of our highest priorities is to receive and maintain the power of God in our life.
Jesus was called the Messiah, or the “Anointed One,” because He walked in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 61:1) Jesus’ ministered to hurting people by releasing his “anointing” – or the power of the Spirit –that He had in Him. Jesus didn’t perform his ministry until the power of the Spirit came upon Him. (Mark 1:10) If Jesus, the Son of God, did not minister without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, then we shouldn’t either.
When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, he/she receives a certain amount of power. This power is the anointing of God. The Bible seems to describe God’s anointing as a tangible substance. Scripture says that Jesus “felt” the power of God go out of Him to heal. When we read the Bible stories of Jesus healing the sick, we find that Jesus had such Holy Spirit power in Him that sometimes it seemed to flow out from Him to heal the disease.
Here are several Bible passages showing this power coming from Jesus almost like a tangible substance. People brought their sick to Jesus and asked Him to let the sick touch the edge of his cloak and all who touched Him were healed. (Matthew 14:35, 36) Again in Luke 6:19, the people tried to touch Jesus, because power was coming from Him and healing them. In another instance: “She came up behind Him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:27-29)
After Jesus spent a busy day of ministry, Scripture tells us that He would get up before dawn and go out to spend time with the Father in prayer. In Mark 6:45:46 we are told that after Jesus ended the day feeding the five thousand and healing many, He went up on a mountainside to pray. When Jesus had given everything to the crowds, He always spent time in fellowship with the Father. Perhaps this shows us that spiritual power can be an outflow of communion with God. In Scripture we are asked us to: “Be continually being filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) This ideal seems to describe an ongoing or a repeated action of being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The Bible tells us that the anointing of the Spirit is released by faith. To learn to operate in the anointing is to learn to walk in faith. We can build our faith by studying the Word of God, the Bible. Scripture says: “Faith comes by hearing, hearing the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) And secondly, we can pray and get alone every day with God. And we can build up our faith through personal experience in ministry. The more we step out to minister and see God’s power working through us, the more our faith will increase.
There will always be people nearby that are in need. We can pray for them or reach out to them. Jesus did not minister to everyone. He said, “I do only what I see the Father doing.” (John 5:19) We can pray and ask God what He would have us do. Sometimes our hearts will break when we see the pain and problems that some people have. And the compassion of God will keep us going in ministry.
We look at the Church in the New Testament, and we want to have a church like it. Those folks in the early church loved God and one another and came together daily with great enthusiasm. And there were healings and miracles and new believers were believing in Christ and joining the church fellowship every day. An adventurous church that has the power and the gifts and the abilities given by the Spirit!
But spiritual gifts can be messy, especially when people are learning to use them. Power is dangerous if not properly used and people can get hurt. So many churches have played it “safe” and have stayed away from the anointing of the Holy Spirit along with all of the spiritual gifts. We will turn down what God is offering! Walk away from what He has for us! Too many problems can occur with this anointing and things might get out of control. We wouldn’t want that would we? But what are we missing?
Many of the ideas in this blog are taken from Robert Heidler’s book, “Experiencing the Spirit” p. 119-136.