Psalm 23:5 You have anointed my head with oil
July 19th, 2020

Why oil?

For refreshment and to honor guests

Oil, in Old Testament and New Testament times was rubbed on the skin for refreshment.  An anointed face was associated with joy, which is why we read of the oil gladness in passages like Isaiah 61.  When people were mourning, they specifically refrained from this usual practice.

Anointing with oil was used to show honor for guests.  As guests at The Lord’s table He does not forget to extend the courtesy of anointing us with oil as someone invited into His house. 

Ordination for service to God.

Anointing of Kings

Jesse brings David in to meet Samuel.  And in 1 Samuel verse 13:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward.

Anointing of Prophets

When Elijah had finished his prophetic ministry, we see in 1 Kings 19:16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 

Anointing of Priests 

Leviticus 8:30 30 So Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron, on his garments, on his sons, and on the garments of his sons with him; and he consecrated Aaron, his garments, and his sons, and the garments of his sons with him.; Three times it is called the “holy, anointing oil,” and the Jews were strictly forbidden from reproducing it for personal use (Exodus 30:32-33) saying . 32It must not be used to anoint an ordinary man, and you must not make anything like it with the same formula. It is holy, and it must be holy to you. 33Anyone who mixes perfume like it or puts it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.’” The strictness of the guidelines for creating the oil was a test of the obedience of the Israelites setting apart of this oil itself as holy to God.

Messiah; Anointed One 

The word Messiah or Christos in Greek from which we get Christ in English, describes Jesus’ Office or Role.  It literally means, the Anointed One.   In the Old Testament, people were anointed for the positions of prophet, priest, and king.  Usually, people were anointed for these offices by the priest or king.  So who anointed Jesus?

We read in Psalm 45, which, by the way, is a Psalm celebrating the king’s marriage in vs. 6-8 it says Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. 8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;

God is the one who anointed Jesus, and we see this picture of anointing again

And when Jesus, describes His own ministry, as he’s teaching in Nazareth in Luke 4:18 quoting from Isaiah 61 saying 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind,To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

Jesus fulfilled the Role of King, Prophet and High-Priest (order of Melchizedek).

Oil for Healing

In Mark 6:13, the disciples anoint the sick and heal them. In Mark 14:3-9, Mary anoints Jesus’ feet as an act of worship. In James 5:14, the church elders anoint the sick with oil for healing. In Hebrews 1:8-9, God says to Christ as He returns triumphantly to heaven, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever,” and God anoints Jesus “with the oil of gladness.”

When we anoint with oil when praying for healing, we understand that oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit, and it is through the power of God, through faith in God that healing happens. 

Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit


The Holy Spirit unites us as one flock.   Oil symbolizes the Unity of the Church, as brothers and sisters sharing life together in peace. Psalm 133:1-2 says “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity. It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!” 

The Holy Spirit Cleanses

Cleansing of believers is part of the work of the Holy Spirit, just as the cleansing of sheep to get rid of scab is part of the work of a shepherd.  This developmental sanctification is an ongoing process which begins at conversion and continues throughout the believer’s life.  It is this very difference between Christians and the world, this separation, this sanctification demonstrated in the lives of believers that God uses to demonstrate His power through our changed hearts and affords us the opportunity to point people to Jesus.  If there is little difference between us and the world, it is unlikely that people will be attracted to Jesus through our witness since He will not have appeared to have made a difference in our lives. 

The Holy Spirit Renews us

Just as the anointed face was a symbol of joy, the Holy Spirit gives us Joy and renews us day-by-day.

The Holy Spirit fills us and empowers us for Ministry

The Holy Spirit’s effusive work of infilling us gives us the power to choose more consistently to cooperate with the process of sanctification and not make choices in our Christian walk which would grieve the Spirit of God.  As we cooperate with this purifying process, we are conformed more and more into the image of Christ

Gifting Work

We see this in the Holy Spirit’s bestowing of Spiritual Gifts.  In addition to His role in teaching us the inspired Word of God, the Holy Spirit gives each believer one or more Spiritual gifts according to His will.  Each Christian operates in their spiritual gifts for the common good, to care for one another, to help other believers in their walk, to enable for ministry, and to strengthen and build up the Church.