In James 5, there is a call to be anointed with oil by the elders if you are sick or weak. As a believer and an elder, I have personally experienced the restorative work of God through this practice. The restoration we find in Christ is what we desire, and I hope to encourage you to engage in this type of prayer.
The Tapestry of Anointing with Oil
Throughout the pages of Scripture, the act of anointing with oil weaves a profound tapestry of significance. It serves as a sacred practice that consecrates us to God’s purpose and empowers us for His plan through the work of the Holy Spirit. By exploring the connections between the Old Testament rituals and the restorative power revealed in the New Testament, we can gain a deeper understanding of anointing with oil.
In Genesis 28:18, we find the first mention of anointing with oil. Jacob, after encountering God in a dream at Bethel, poured oil on a stone pillar, consecrating the place as a sacred site. This act symbolized Jacob’s recognition of God’s presence and his desire to honor Him. Just as sacred spaces were anointed, believers are anointed with the Holy Spirit, reminding us of God’s continual interaction with us as sacred sites.
Exodus 28:41 and 29:20-21 reveal the crucial role of anointing with oil in the consecration of the priesthood. Aaron and his sons were anointed with oil to set them apart for their priestly duties, symbolizing God’s chosen ones being empowered by His Spirit. This established the authority, holiness, and intercessory role of the priesthood, which extends to the priesthood of all believers. Anointing with oil serves as a reminder of our holy duty and obligation.
The anointing of David as king of Israel in 1 Samuel 16:13 marked a significant shift in the establishment of the Davidic dynasty. The pouring of oil on David’s head symbolized his selection and empowerment by God to rule His people. This anointing foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ, the eternal King. In 1 Peter 2:9, believers are referred to as a royal priesthood established by Jesus. Anointing with oil reminds us of our identity as divine royalty.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
Anointing with oil also finds its ultimate fulfillment in the work of the Holy Spirit. In passages like Matthew 3:16, Isaiah 61:1, and 1 John 2:20, the term “anointing” is associated with the work of the Holy Spirit. By being anointed with oil, we are reminded of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work in us, as we participate in the restorative process.
Anointing for Healing and Restoration: In James 5:14, the word “astheneo” is used, which can be translated as “sick” or “weak.” It suggests more than just physical ailments and encompasses spiritual weakness or being off-track in our relationship with God. Anointing with oil and prayer are appropriate responses for those who find themselves weak, disconnected from their Kingdom role, or enslaved to sin and death. The goal is not just initial healing but restoration into the Kingdom role God has called us to.
Anointing with oil is a powerful practice that we should consider in light of the tapestry woven throughout Scripture. It consecrates us, calls us to our priestly duties, and reveals our identity as royalty through the work of the Holy Spirit. It reminds us of the Divine Presence and provides an opportunity for obedience and transformation in our lives. Let us respond to the call of James 5, seeking the prayer and anointing of the elders, and experience the restorative power of God in our lives.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are wondering what the next steps might be if you are seeking prayer and anointing with oil from the elders, then let me suggest the following…
- Please read James 5:13-20.
- If you are “sick/weak” call the elders (vs 14) friendshipmn.org/prayer
- Confess sins to one another (vs 16)
- Have the elders pray over you (vs 14)
- Have them anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord (vs 14)