Son, Messiah, King

Jesus is the anointed Son of God. From the start, his life is characterized by the empowering presence of the Spirit

When Joseph heard that Mary’s child was conceived of the Holy Spirit,” it indicated that something more than just miraculous or the fulfillment of prophecy was about to unfold. From the very beginning, the activity of the Spirit dominated the life of Jesus.  He was “Jesus, the one called Christ,” the long-awaited Messiah.

He is the QUINTESSENTIAL MAN OF THE SPIRIT. Neither his messianic mission nor his present reign can be understood apart from the presence and activity of the Spirit in his life and ministry.

And the same Spirit now sets his people apart for service to the kingdom of God. Since his exaltation, Jesus now dispenses the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower his church to proclaim his reign and gospel to all the nations of the earth.

ANOINTED

In the Hebrew Bible, the verb rendered “anointed” is mashakh, meaning “smear, daub; to anoint” (Strong’s - #H4899), the word from which the corresponding English term ‘messiah’ is derived. The Greek noun used for ‘messiah’ in the Septuagint Greek version of the Bible is christos (Strong’s - #G5547).

Christ’ is the anglicized spelling of the Greek noun. Both mashakh and Christos denote someone or something that is “anointed” - (Leviticus 4:3, Daniel 9:25, Mathew 1:16).

Under the Levitical system, olive oil was used to “anoint” persons and things and separate them for sacred or royal service. In the Tabernacle, the altar, tent, table of showbread, and the vessels for rituals were all “anointed,” along with the priests, and especially, the high priest. Kings were anointed at their enthronement, which is why they were termed “Yahweh’s Anointed” - (1 Samuel 12:3, 26:11, Psalm 2:2, 45:7).

The key messianic prophecy applied to Jesus in much of the New Testament is from the second Psalm - (e.g., Matthew 3:17, Hebrews 1:1-5, Revelation 12:5):

  • (Psalm 2:1-9) – “The kings of the earth take their station, and grave men have met by appointment together, against Yahweh and against his Anointed One… My Lord will mock at them: Then will he speak to them in his anger, and in his wrath confound them: Yet I have installed my king, on Zion my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree, Yahweh has said to me: You are my son. This day, I have begotten you.


The Psalm is about the ideal king of Israel destined to sit on David’s throne forever. He is called Yahweh’s anointed, as well as My king” and son.”

THE SPIRIT

The Psalm is a prophecy about the “anointed one,” the son” and king whom God appoints to reign over the nations from “Mount Zion.” But unlike kings and priests, he is anointed with God’s Spirit, not olive oil. The presence of the Spirit is what sets him apart from all his predecessors.

All four gospels record how the Spirit descended on Jesus following his baptism in the Jordan. In each account, his anointing is confirmed by a visual effect (“descended like a dove”) and an audible voice from heaven (“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” – Mark 1:1-9, John 1:32-34).

When the voice declares him to be “my beloved Son,” it is echoing the clause from the second Psalm - “You are my Son.” The descent of the Spirit means he is “anointed” directly by God Himself.

In the Old Testament, certain men were endowed temporarily by God’s Spirit, but with Jesus, the Spirit descended and “remains on him.” Moreover, he has the fullness of the Spirit, and “not by measure” - (John 3:34).

SPIRIT-LED MINISTRY

Following his baptism, Jesus was driven “by the Spirit” into the wilderness to be tested. Luke records that after defeating Satan, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.” Shortly thereafter, while preaching in a synagogue, he declared:

  • The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” - (Luke 4:13-18).

Thus, it is the Spirit that equipped Jesus for ministry. And he himself attributes his miracles and deeds to the Spirit of God.

For example, when he is accused of exorcising demons “by the power of Satan,” he retorts, “But if I, by the Spirit of God, cast out demons” - (Matthew 12:28). This is also the understanding of the early church:

  • (Acts 10:38) - “How God anointed him with Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the adversary because God, was with him.

Thus, the Spirit is integral to the identity, mission, and goal of the Messiah. But Jesus also is the one who now possesses and dispenses the gift of the Spirit, and he promises to send the Spirit after his glorification:

  • (John 7:37-39) – “If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believes on me, just as said the Scripture, Rivers from within him shall flow of living water. Now, this he spoke concerning the Spirit which they who believed on him were about to receive; for, not yet was the Spirit, because not yet was Jesus glorified” - (John 15:26).

After his ascension, he “sent the promise of his Father,” the gift of the Spirit, upon his disciples, empowering them for gospel proclamation “to the uttermost ends of the earth.”

When he began his reign following the ascension, he “received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit.” As Paul writes, “having ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.

Thus, the possession of the Spirit and the authority to distribute its gifts belongs to Jesus, Yahweh’s anointed king, who now rules over the nations from the throne of David.



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