Have you ever had a cup of water poured over your head? Sometimes people do this as a prank at a picnic. The victim sputters and jumps up. Sometimes people do it to themselves when they are really hot. But I’ve never seen this done at a special and solemn ceremony. Pouring stuff on the head just seems undignified and messy. If I lived in Old Testament times, I’d need to adjust my thinking. Pouring olive oil on something or on the head of someone was called “anointing.” It formed the ceremony setting someone or something apart for a special role.
For instance, Moses anointed Aaron and his sons as the priests when the worship practices of ancient Israel were established. He also anointed the priestly garments, the altar, the tabernacle and other things. Kings were also anointed upon taking office. Samuel the prophet anointed Saul as king, as well as David after him. The men of Judah also anointed David as their king. So being the anointed one was a big deal.
That is what the title Christ means. It is the Greek form of the word Messiah. Both mean the “anointed or chosen one.” In Mark 8:20, Jesus said his disciples, ‘“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”’ (NIV)
“Christ” is not Jesus’ name, it is the most common title for Jesus. He is God’s chosen one, set apart for a special role.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.