In Old Testament times, God had a unique ceremony by which he would show his choice of a spiritual leader and then invest that leader with special gifts of the Spirit to fit him for his work. Prophets like Elisha, the kings, and a new high priest were to be anointed. A specially mixed ceremonial oil was splashed on their heads in front of an audience so that all would know the Lord’s choice.
All those leader types, however, were only placeholders for the great Anointed One (in Old Testament Hebrew: Meshiach or Messiah, in New Testament Greek: Christós) who was to come. This future hero would bring security, prosperity, and righteousness to the nation and to the whole world. It would be the Israelites’ great gift to all people, the very fulfillment of their national identity.
A woman drawing water at a well in the town of Sychar was stunned one day to realize that she was speaking with none other than this long-awaited Prophet-Priest-King: “The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he’” (John 4:25,26).
Jesus’ anointing was not with oil but with the water of the Jordan River (see Matthew chapter 3). His anointer, John the Baptist, identified his holy mission: to take away the sin of the world.
Christ, have mercy!