A warm welcome to another edition of Brooklands Digital Church.
The message is given by our Pastor Karl Stanfield, and can be listened to as audio using the LISTEN button above. An audio MP3 is also available via the SAVE button.
The Bible readings are taken from Isaiah 53:1-7
The service starts with a 15 minute countdown, where we share some news and announcements. Please use the scroll bar to skip straight through to the service/message if desired.
If you would like to support our ministry, all donations are thankfully received.
Most of us know that the Hebrew word for ‘Messiah’ means ‘The Anointed One’. It was a uniquely special title for a uniquely special person. The converse is also true, i.e. this distinctive word ‘Messiah’ with its unique meaning is surprisingly found applied to everyday, ordinary things! Let me explain that. All the Bible dictionaries say that ‘Messiah’ means ‘the Anointed One’. It is the solitary Messiah who is anointed. The Hebrew word quite literally means ‘drenched in oil’; and it is Olive Oil, of course, which was used to anoint priests and kings. Alongside this one-off meaning, olive oil was produced from the olive berry and its uses were very widespread in Bible times; and even today it is widely used, including in cooking and adding to salad dressings.
Olive trees were abundant, and the Israelites took advantage of this major crop to establish a thriving trade in olive oil with Tyre and Egypt. Like precious metals and animals, oil became an established medium of exchange (used as a currency). Solomon used it as part of the payment to Hiram for construction expenses connected with the building of the Jerusalem Temple: “Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year.” (1 Kings 5:11).
I have been struck by how valuable oil was to the common person of that age. Oil was essential for everyday life. It was used in the preparation of most food. The common bread which formed the basis of the noon meal would be cooked on a griddle; it was flour mixed with a little oil. You may remember the story of the Widow from Zarephath and the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17). God sent the great prophet to a poor widow so she would provide him with food in time of famine – but all she had was enough flour and oil for one last meal. In the miracle which followed we read, “For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.”
And so, it happened that God used a humble widow, with just her olive oil and flour. Olive oil could also be taken internally as a medicine for the relief of stomach disorders. In addition, it was applied externally as an ointment for bruises, burns and cuts…, remember the Good Samaritan! “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine” (Luke 10:34). Besides currency, cooking & medication – as soon as the sun had set, the only source of light was the olive oil lamp; low-grade olive oil was not only cheap, but olive oil is also 99% pure fuel, producing no smoke or soot when burning.
From the anointing of Kings and Priests to the lighting of a humble home, there was NO END to its use! But note these two observations:
1. The Anointed One!
Oil was used to identify God’s blessing. It was used to describe the Christ of God – Jesus would be The Anointed One – the Christ [Greek word for Messiah]! Literally, One drenched in Oil; with oil being a symbol to represent the Holy Spirit. So then, Jesus is Saturated with the Holy Spirit in such a way that he was Holy, just as the Father and the Spirit were Holy, through and through. Need I remind you that it was indeed on ‘the Mount of Olives’ that some really important things happened: because, Jesus taught from there. Jesus made his entrance into Jerusalem from there. And it was from there that Jesus ascended into heaven!
It was also there that Jesus was arrested. It was there in a garden called Gethsemane (a Hebrew word incidentally which means “Oil Press”) that Jesus prayed through to victory. Jesus went through the mill for us in prayer before he was ‘crushed for our iniquities’ upon the cross.
Friends, this is also where the Good News is applied to us… Because it is about…
2. The Anointing of Many!
This is due to the power of God’s grace, and God’s gift of Faith…
What we have here i: the Anointed One crucified for us and our salvation. The anointing of Luke 4: 18-19 is now upon us. Here is what it says, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
We can now find his unique anointing in the most common of things all around us. This special anointing is for all believers. It is for the common people in uncommon ways.
Olive Oil, one of the important symbols of the Holy Spirit, is used in many churches for anointing when one asks for the prayer of healing. It is also used when asking God’s blessing on special occasions of induction into Christian ministry.
It was a moment considered so sacred that television cameras were turned away out of respect, as the then young Queen Elizabeth II was anointed before God under a Westminster Abbey canopy, at her coronation on 2nd June 1953. Perfumed olive oil was used – and it was looked upon as a seal of a sacred promise to serve God and the people.
Can I finally remind you that this olive oil is the result of a crushing, and a pressing?
The song that has been adopted by the South District of our Nazarene Church in the British Isles this year is called New Wine. Here are some of the lyrics:
In the crushing in the pressing, You are making new wine, In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground. (So) Make me Your vessel, Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be, (God) I came here with nothing,
But all – You have given me, Jesus bring new wine out of me.
I dare say that God cannot Create anyone with a holy nature unless there is firstly a ‘Crushing’ and a ‘Pressing’… The great prophet Isaiah wrote in 53: 10, ‘Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him…’
May the Spirit of the living God anoint you this day – we pray.