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Friday, 7 October 2022
how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38
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Peter is in the middle of his explanation to Cornelius about the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. He continues now with, “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth.”
In these words, there are a couple of intentional connections to the previous verses. The word “anointed” is the Greek word chrió. It is the root of the word Christos (Christ) used in Acts 10:36. Thus, Peter is making a verbal confirmation that Jesus is the Christ because he was anointed by God as such. Further, Ellicott notes the grammatical parallel between the words “Jesus of Nazareth” in this verse and “word” in verses 10:36 and 10:37 –
The word [logos, divine utterance] which God sent
That word [rhéma, the contents of the utterance] you know
Jesus of Nazareth
The utterance of God and the meaning that it conveys is parallel with the Person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Again, as has been seen in previous verses in Acts, the location is affixed to His name because Jesus was not an uncommon name. To define who is being referred to more explicitly, the name of His town, Nazareth, is affixed as a part of the title
Of the anointing received from God by Jesus of Nazareth, it was “with the Holy Spirit.” In the Old Testament, the act of anointing a priest or a king or even an object (such as the pillar Jacob raised in Genesis 31) was accomplished to signify being set apart to God. It would also typologically anticipate the spiritual anointing of God upon Christ.
In the prophets, the noting of being anointed becomes a point of messianic anticipation as the words obviously point to One who was yet to come and who would accomplish marvelous things or fulfill promises made by the Lord to the people. This is the idea that carried on to the time when Jesus came and fulfilled those prophecies, such as –
“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” Luke 4:16-21
The gospels clearly tie the baptism of Christ in with this anointing. He was already holy and sinless, but the act of baptism became the visible and explicit act of God acknowledging Him as the One especially set apart and anointed to fulfill the messianic promises.
With this noted, Peter continues with, “and with power.” The power here obviously refers to more than just something a person might be born with or that a person might develop through exercise. It is referring to abilities that are clearly divine in nature, being bestowed by God, such as healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, and even raising the dead. With this anointing, and with this power, Peter next says, “who went about doing good.”
The words “went about” are literally “went through.” It signifies the scope of His ministry, going through the land in order to do that which was for the benefit of those whom He encountered. There was never a secondary agenda to profit, gain fame, or wield authority over others. Rather, He carefully demonstrated an attitude of selfless care for those around Him, tending to them as a Shepherd over His flock. Also, Peter says, “and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.”
The layout of the words is explained by Vincent’s Word Studies, saying, “The and (καὶ) has a particularizing force: doing good, and in particular, healing.” In other words, the healing was a particular point of the “doing good” that highlights the ministry of Jesus. And this is well described throughout the gospels.
Peter’s note of the healings being for those “oppressed by the devil” shows that the troubles of this life find their root in his crafty works against man. The word translated as “oppressed” is found only here and in James 2:6. It is a word that signifies “powerfully bringing someone down (denying them the higher position or blessing they should enjoy)” (HELPS Word Studies).
The point is that if the devil has the ability to oppress man, and Jesus has the ability to heal them, then Jesus has power over the afflicter of man, meaning the devil. This now ties the thought of Jesus’ baptism into His anointing. At the time Jesus was baptized, it said in Luke –
“When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’” Luke 3:21, 22
After that was recorded, the genealogy of Jesus, going all the way back to Adam, and then to God who created Adam, was given. Thus, it was a confirming note that this Person was to be the One to restore what was lost through the devil’s cunning, but who was promised at that time (see Genesis 3:15). Immediately following that, in Luke 4, the account of the devil tempting Christ was given as is recorded in Luke 4:1-13.
The devil could not defeat the resolve of Christ Jesus the way he had done to Adam. Christ had gained mastery over the devil and was thus able to heal those oppressed by the devil, as Peter next notes, “for God was with Him.” This is exactly what is recorded by Luke –
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil.” Luke 4:1, 2
God’s Holy Spirit filled Jesus, demonstrating God’s approval of Him and His being with Him. Peter is clearly revealing the interactions of the Godhead in his presentation of who Jesus is.
Life application: The power that man needs to be free is found in Jesus. The devil already has authority over all people as is stated in Scripture. But Jesus overcame the devil, defeating Him for any and all who will simply come to Him by faith. It was in violating God’s law that the devil gained authority over man. The introduction of the Law of Moses highlights this fact. But in Christ’s fulfillment of the law, a New Covenant was introduced.
In this New Covenant, there is freedom from the imputation of sin (2 Corinthians 5:19) and the bestowal of God’s grace upon us. The Bible gives only two positions for the state of man, we are born under the authority of the devil, and we stand condemned. It is our default position. Jesus offers humanity to receive what He has done and move back to God through Him. Once that occurs, it becomes man’s new default position.
As sin is no longer imputed to those who are in Christ, the default position is set forever. The devil can never again break the bonds between God and man. This is the marvelous offer of peace and reconciliation that God presents to man. Be sure to accept this offer and then share what has occurred in you with others. Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ our Lord today.
Lord God, thank You for Jesus. In Him, there is hope. In Him, there is reconciliation. And, in Him, there is peace and fellowship with You once again. May we never take lightly the wonderful thing You have done in the sending of Jesus. Hallelujah for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.