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AUDIO and TEXT of Sermon Preached 1/27/13-"The Anointed"

Click here to download AUDIO

 

Sermon Preached by

The Rev. Fulton Porter, III

January 27, 2013

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

St. Thomas Church, Chicago

Luke 4:14-21

 

The Anointed

 

 

In the name the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

 

 

I was consumed with the thought this past week of what it means to be anointed, and I specifically contemplated the characteristics of Jesus as the anointed one of God, that is Jesus the Christ.  Jesus carries the title of Christ.   We are accustomed to hearing Son of Man and Son of God as titles, but sometimes we forget that Christ is also a title. Sometimes we say "Jesus Christ" as if Christ were Jesus' last name. But it is not, anymore than my name is "The Reverend Fulton Porter." My name is Fulton Porter; Reverend is my title. In the same way, "The Christ" or "Christ" is a title, not a last name.

 

What are we saying when we refer to Jesus as Christ or Jesus the Christ? I propose that we can mean at least three things.  First, the literal meaning of the Greek Christ is "the anointed one." Not simply "anointed," but "the anointed one." In other words, Jesus is someone whose life is anointed—drenched, saturated, filled—with the spirit and power of God in a special and unique way. He cannot be duplicated or replicated.  In the Scriptures are many prophets, but there is only one Christ. There are many preachers, but one Christ. There are many teachers, but one Christ.

Many leaders, but one Christ;  Many miracle workers, but one Christ;  Many healers, but one Christ;  Many kings and lords, but one Christ. That's why Jesus is referred to as King of kings and Lord of lords.  Consequently when we talk about the meaning of Jesus as Christ, we are talking about someone who chronicles, embodies, manifests, reveals, demonstrates, emulates, and encapsulates the spirit of God, Word of God, power of God in a unique way. Mohammed was a great prophet, but he was not Jesus Christ. Buddha was a great teacher, but he was not Jesus Christ.  Moses was a great leader, but he was not Jesus Christ.  The Dali Lama is a great presence, but he is not Jesus Christ.  Only Jesus Christ is Savior. Only Jesus Christ is Redeemer. Only Jesus Christ lived above sin. Only Jesus Christ has conquered death, hell, and the grave. Only Jesus Christ is coming back again.  Jesus as Christ is the one in all of human history uniquely anointed and appointed to save.

 

But not only is he the Anointed One of God; he is also Son of Man. This is the title that Jesus most often used in referring to himself. The title Son of Man occurs over eighty times in the New Testament. When the title is used in the Gospels, it is most often spoken from the lips of Jesus.  Why was this title so special that Jesus used it of himself eighty times? I believe that when Jesus the Christ used the title Son of Man, he was establishing his identity with us.  He is the Anointed One among us—not just among us, but the Anointed among us.  That's why he could do so much while he lived on earth, because he was the Anointed among us.  If we are going to make it in this world and work with people without them corrupting or distracting us, if we plan to battle life's problems without being broken, if we plan to handle evil, then we're going to need an anointing—you need an anointing.  You need more than education or sincerity or determination. More than one educated, knowledgeable, sincere, and strong person has been broken by life. You need an anointing—you need the Holy Spirit at work in your life.  That's why Jesus told the disciples, "Before you go anywhere or do anything, stay in the city of Jerusalem until you are endowed with power" (see Luke 24:49).

 

But not only is Jesus Christ the Anointed One among us; he is anointed to serve. Whenever he healed somebody, he was serving. When he fed the five thousand, he was serving. When he raised the dead, he was serving. When he died on Calvary, he was serving. I know that service is not a popular subject to the "me generation." We come to church for what we can get out of it.

We think we are anointed to be self-righteous and to gloat and lord over somebody else. But religion is not about just showing up for a shot in the arm on Sunday.  It's about serving the Lord and serving people. That's why believing is not enough and attendance is insufficient. We need to belong to a church and then become active in that church, because we serve the Lord through the organization and organism that he has established called church.

 

God anoints us not because we are so special, but so that we can serve others in special ways.

What have you done lately that is of service to God? Coming to church is not service. That's worship, but that's not service. We go to worship to be inspired to serve. Lest we forget, service still counts much in the eyes of the One who is anointed among us to serve. He will still say to us when we stand before him, "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these ... you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40).

 

Jesus the Christ is the Son of Man—not son of Joseph or son of the Jewish nation or son of black people or son of poor people only. He is the Anointed One among us for everybody. He still says, "Whosever will let them come." I don't care how much we've messed up: "Whosoever will let them come."  I don't care how old or how young we are: "Whosoever will let them come."

I don't care whether we are male or female, gay or straight, black or white or brown or somewhere in between: "Whosoever will let them come." And whosoever will, I'm at your service. But, Jesus the Christ is not only the Son of Man; he is also the Christ, the Son of God.  

As the Christ, he is the Anointed One.  As the Son of Man, he is the Anointed One among us,

but as the Christ, the Son of God, he is the Anointed One who has risen above us.

 

His example shows that to rise above, we have to serve below. It is by serving below that we reign above. It is by praying in Gethsemane below that we can intercede at the right hand of God above. It is by bearing a cross below that we can wear a crown above.

 

As the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus reminds us of our possibilities. Children of the dust though we are, mess-ups and sinners though we are, we have someone anointed among us who can lift us to our greatest potential. The mediocre become mighty. Sinners become saints. The addicts become achievers. The drunkards become delivered. The rejected become redeemed. The fearful become fighters. The ordinary become outstanding. The looked-over become looked-up-to.

Children of sinful men and women become children of God. As the writer of 1 John says, "Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed..." (1 John 3:2).

 

Amen!

 

 

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