Some of the [Christmas] words have been worn out. Can you put “glory,” “joy,” “Messiah / Christ,” etc. in today’s vernacular?
~ Don Kimrey
A wonderful Q&A theme for the Advent season is to revisit biblical definitions of these words. We'll insert the quintessential Christmas word “peace” for "etc.," and spread the answer out over four posts:
December 3: Glory
December 10: Joy / Rejoice
December 17: Peace
December 24: Messiah / Christ
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"Annunciation" by Henry Ossawa Tanner
Image source: canvasreplicas.com
The Greek word "christ" and Hebrew word "messiah" both mean "anointed one."
The biblical word "anoint" refers to the pouring oil on a person. Olive oil was used as fuel for light. It was also poured on people as a cosmetic, to give skin and face the shine of health. Various herbs and spices in oil were used for food enhancement, for perfume, and for healing.
Anointing with oil was also a ritual, signifying that a person was set apart to serve God as His king, priest, or prophet, and often empowered by the Lord’s Holy Spirit. Persons were occasionally called "anointed" without ritual pouring of oil, when God appointed them for a special purpose.
Thus "anointed" also indicates the Holy Spirit and His power being poured out upon a person.
Long before the birth of Jesus, God promised He would send His Christ—THE Anointed One, God Himself in human flesh—to fill the three roles of King, Priest, Prophet. The great significance of Jesus’ mother Mary being a virgin is that Jesus' biological Father is God. The Holy Spirit did not simply empower Jesus as a Man, but impregnated His mother with a Person already divine:
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin ... "Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS... The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God..." Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."
~ Luke 1:26,31,35,38 (NKJV; also see Matthew 1:18-23)
By consenting for the Holy Spirit to come upon her, Mary accepted God's Word and thereby received His seed—"seed" meaning both offspring and God's Word. Jesus grew within her until the day she birthed Him and He became manifest to others.
This wonder celebrated at Christmas—Almighty God dwelling upon the earth by His Spirit having union with a human to reproduce the life of His Son—is an everyday miracle. Because the Lord's Anointed One came as conquering King to defeat death, came as Priest to offer Himself as sacrifice for sin, and came as Prophet with God's Word for us (His seed), we receive the same invitation that Mary did.
Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
~ Acts 2:38 (NKJV)
We can accept God's Word and humbly offer ourselves as servants to God, yield to the power of Most High God entering our human flesh, and then reproduce the life of Jesus so that God might be manifest to the world.
Christians are not merely Christ-followers. We are Christ-bearers and anointed ones, set apart to God and empowered by His poured out Holy Spirit, so that we might burn as the light of Christ, shine with spiritual health, heal and be healed, and be the perfume of Christ.
For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NKJV)
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© 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.