Article 8: Anointed at home
Reflections from the first few weeks of lockdown
We’re in a season where we are with our immediate family units, some of us are alone at home and without many of the normal external activities or relationships that strengthen our life. Most of the outside structures have been taken away and we are able to see more clearly where we draw our strength from.
When John wrote to the churches in 1 John, they were struggling with spotting what teaching to follow because there were some weird teachings going around that denied Jesus as God’s Son and as the anointed one, the Saviour of the world. He reminded them that they each had an anointing, individually and together, that they could trust.
1 John 2:20,27
'But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.'
'As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.'
So, the word anointing here doesn’t get used much in our modern English language. But it meant a lot to the people reading the letter who knew the Old Testament scriptures well because it was all they had. Being anointed meant you were chosen by God for special purpose, you had power given to you by God to do that and God the Holy Spirit was in and around your life making it happen. The point John was making here was that if they chose to turn to God, then God the Holy Spirit would easily help them spot truth from lies, and teach them to be fruitful and productive in Jesus.
John wasn’t writing to them to say they didn’t need biblical teachers. He was pointing out that firstly they had to learn to hear God for themselves individually and as family units. Secondly, they needed each other as a spiritual family in the cities and towns they came from, as Jesus’ body, as the Ekklesia. Jesus had given gifts and anointings right across the whole of their spiritual family. On those 2 platforms then, they could receive these travelling teachers from outside and either recognise them as healthy or unhealthy.
I remember my own Dad telling me as a teenager that Jesus gives gifts to every family and within every gathering of believers but more often than not, people look outside for help first because they don’t trust and exercise God’s anointing in their life.
In this period of lockdown, I believe we have the chance to BE the Ekklesia (the word Jesus used for any gathering of believers even if just 2 or 3), BE Jesus’ body, like never before. House to house (Acts 2:46) was where the early church began and house to house is where we are at in lockdown. We may not be able to go into each other’s homes, but we can jump straight in through a phone call or online platform, something the early church could never have imagined. And we can do it with anointing. Lots of people, those who know Jesus or don’t, are going to act kindly out of decency, morality, with love in this period of suffering for our nation. These acts should be commended and celebrated as reflections of God’s image in humanity. But I feel like we have a chance to say things, call people, love people, serve people with ANOINTING if we will trust, listen and obey him in this season.
'how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.'
Luke pointed out that Jesus has such a transforming effect on Galilee because of his anointing. We are anointed! We are anointed – chosen by God, given power by him and surrounded by God the Holy Spirit – to co-partner in the explosive expansion of the Kingdom. We can do nothing in society right now apart from love at home well and love our immediate neighbours. We can turn in and hear God in the everyday.
The vulnerable suffering widow (2 Kings 4) was asked by Elisha to shut the door on her house, on her family and pour oil with her children. Her salvation depended on it and as she obeyed God, she experienced miraculous provision in her pain. As she poured oil, a symbol of anointing in the Bible, God fulfilled promises for her and her generations.
The temptation in this time could be turn out and keep trying to find teachers, find grace and strength, find help from people far away when God has anointing in our homes, in the spiritual family he has placed around us that can change the world.
I had the privilege of meeting Mother Theresa in the last few months of her life. She was so unremarkable in the way we often see things; she was a tiny old lady who spoke quietly and unassumingly. Yet she changed the world and had world leaders sit at her feet. She was famously quoted as saying, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” I believe Jesus has given us hope in the suffering of this time to recognise we ARE his Ekklesia and that transformation begins at home. This enforced turning in, I believe, is going to help God’s anointing flow again and with greater depth and breadth.
Let Jesus’ Ekklesia arise.