The Unction To Function: Meditation for the Seventh Sunday after Trinity
When God calls and assigns, He also equips. He knows the difficulty of our task and our dependence on Him to operate. The Lord declared that without Him, we could do nothing (Jn 15:5). But with Him, we can do all things (Phil. 4:13), for with God, nothing is impossible (Matt. 19:26; Lk 1:37).
Right from the Old Testament times, God has always empowered His servants with the Holy Spirit to enable them to perform (e.g. Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 14:6, 14:19, 15:14). This empowerment or commissioning was symbolised in the anointing of the national officers and functionaries. The offices of prophet, priest, and king were particularly associated with anointing in the nation of Israel. Prophets were sometimes installed by official anointing (1 Kings 19:16) and could be referred to as God’s anointed ones (1 Chron. 16:22; Psalm 105:115). Likewise, the priests, particularly the high priests were anointed to their offices (Exod. 40:12-15; Num. 3:3; Exod. 29:29; Lev. 16:32). Anointing also became a divinely ordained rite accompanying all the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Kings 9:1-6; 11:12). “The Lord’s anointed” or some similar phrase became a common title for Hebrew kings (1 Sam. 12:3-5; 2 Sam. 1:14-16; Psalm 89:38, 51; Lam. 4:20).
In the New Testament, Jesus accomplished the three offices of prophet, priest, and king and is designated “the Christ”, meaning, “the anointed one”. Jesus’ anointing was spiritual – by the Holy Spirit (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:1, 18-19). His anointing manifested in the power and miracles that marked His ministry (John 1:32-51; Luke 4:33-37). The anointing of Christians is also spiritual – by impartation of the Holy Spirit enabling them to accomplish their Christian life and ministry (2 Cor. 1:21-22; 1 John 2:20, 27). Hence, when Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach to all nations beginning from Jerusalem, He immediately told them: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” (Lk 24:47, 49; Acts 1:4, 8).
The Holy Spirit is the unction to function.
Reflections on the Bible Readings for Day (Mattins)
The OT passage (Num. 11:16-17, 24-29) is one of the passages in which the Holy Spirit came on people in the Old Testament. The people of Israel had as many as seventy recognised elders. Right from the time of the advice of Jethro to Moses, there had been men appointed to head, rule and judge the people of Israel with Moses as the overall leader (Exod. 18:13-end; 24:9). But the whole burden of leadership remained on Moses, as he was the only one empowered to operate by the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit was given only to specific people to enable them perform. So, God had to activate the other elders by sharing the Holy Spirit in Moses among them.
The NT passage (Acts 8:4-25) featured a demonstration of the need for the Holy Spirit for a fruitful Christian life. It was after the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost day that they were able to make an impact in society, which subsequently ignited a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem and led to their scattering throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, not only preaching Christ, but also performing miracles.
Phillip’s ministry in Samaria is the case point narrated in the passage.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles, which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. (Vs. 5-7).
New Christian lives were inaugurated. But they needed power to move on, hence the Apostles Peter and John came from Jerusalem to confirm them. They “…prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit…” (Vs. 15, 17).
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC, is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
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