We’re on a series talking about the “oil of gladness” — a phrase used only twice in the whole Bible. So what is this oil of gladness, and where does it come from?
In the first chapter of the book of Hebrews, the author quotes the following passage from Psalm 45:6-7 as a Messianic prophecy concerning the Son of God:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.
As is made plain here, the oil of gladness is an anointing that flows from the very throne room of God onto…whom? Christ! What is contained within this anointing? The Hebrew word used here, sasown, refers to a welcoming state of cheerfulness, mirth, rejoicing. I could imagine waking up in the morning full of excitement and happy anticipation to go spend a wonderful day of merrymaking with close friends — sasown!
But what about Jesus being a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief, stricken, afflicted? That was the essence of Jesus’ sacrificial mission to bear our sins and suffering on the cross, but that was not the final purpose of his ministry. It’s helpful to consider Paul’s reference to the “ministry of reconciliation” in II Corinthians 5:18 that God gave to us through Christ. Reconciliation is where two parties come together and set aside past differences to come to a common accord, an agreement, harmony. The parable of the prodigal son that Jesus so beautifully illustrates is a great example of this reconciliation ministry. And what do we find happening when the father is reconciled to his wayward son? A celebration of joy! Gladness! Mirth! Rejoicing!
The ministry of Jesus is the ministry of reconciliation — between us as former sinners now saved and sanctified by Jesus’ blood and God the Father. We are no longer separated by a gulf of iniquity, chaos, and death. The chasm has been crossed, by the power of the cross, and that is truly something to be glad about!
The other passage in the Bible that talks about the oil of gladness is in the book of Isaiah, and interestingly enough, it’s also within the context of a Messianic prophesy. We’ll delve more into that on the next post in this series. Until then, may God fill you with sasown!