Acts 10:38
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
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(38) How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth.—In the Greek structure the name stands in apposition with the “word” in the two previous verses—“Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him.” The word “anointed” is used with distinct reference to the name of Christ in Acts 10:35, and assumes a knowledge of the facts connected with His baptism, as in Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:21-22, as the divine witness that that Name belonged of right to Him and to no other.

Healing all that were oppressed of the devil.—The words seem to us to refer specially to the works of healing performed on demoniacs, but were probably uttered with a wider range of meaning, all disease being thought of as the work directly or indirectly of the great enemy. So Satan had bound the woman with a spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11). So St. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was a messenger of Satan to buffet him (2Corinthians 12:7).

10:34-43 Acceptance cannot be obtained on any other ground than that of the covenant of mercy, through the atonement of Christ; but wherever true religion is found, God will accept it without regarding names or sects. The fear of God and works of righteousness are the substance of true religion, the effects of special grace. Though these are not the cause of a man's acceptance, yet they show it; and whatever may be wanting in knowledge or faith, will in due time be given by Him who has begun it. They knew in general the word, that is, the gospel, which God sent to the children of Israel. The purport of this word was, that God by it published the good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ. They knew the several matters of fact relating to the gospel. They knew the baptism of repentance which John preached. Let them know that this Jesus Christ, by whom peace is made between God and man, is Lord of all; not only as over all, God blessed for evermore, but as Mediator. All power, both in heaven and in earth, is put into his hand, and all judgment committed to him. God will go with those whom he anoints; he will be with those to whom he has given his Spirit. Peter then declares Christ's resurrection from the dead, and the proofs of it. Faith has reference to a testimony, and the Christian faith is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on the testimony given by them. See what must be believed concerning him. That we are all accountable to Christ as our Judge; so every one must seek his favour, and to have him as our Friend. And if we believe in him, we shall all be justified by him as our Righteousness. The remission of sins lays a foundation for all other favours and blessings, by taking that out of the way which hinders the bestowing of them. If sin be pardoned, all is well, and shall end well for ever.How God anointed ... - That is, set him apart to this work, and was with him, acknowledging him as the Messiah. See the notes on Matthew 1:1.

With the Holy Ghost - See the notes on Luke 4:19. The act of anointing kings and priests seems to have been emblematic of the influences of the Holy Spirit. Here it means that God impaled to him the influences of the Holy Spirit, thus consecrating him for the work of the Messiah. See Matthew 3:16-17; John 3:34, "God giveth not the Holy Spirit by measure unto him."

And with power - The power of healing the sick, raising the dead, etc.

Who went about doing good - Whose main business it was to travel from place to place to do good. He did not go for applause, or wealth, or comfort, or ease, but to diffuse happiness as far as possible. This is the simple but sublime record of his life. It gives us a distinct portrait of his character, as he is distinguished from conquerors and kings, from false prophets and from the mass of people.

And healing ... - Restoring to health.

All that were oppressed of the devil - All that were possessed by him. See the notes on Matthew 4:23-24.

God was with him - God appointed him, and furnished by his miracles the highest evidence that he had sent him. His miracles were such that they could be performed only by God.

38. Now God anointed Jesus of Nazareth—rather, "Jesus of Nazareth (as the burden of that 'published word'), how God anointed Him."

with the Holy Ghost and with power—that is, at His baptism, thus visibly proclaiming Him Messiah, "the Lord's Christ." See Lu 4:18-21. For it is not His unction for personal holiness at His incarnation that is referred to—as many of the Fathers and some moderns take it—but His investiture with the insignia of the Messianic office, in which He presented Himself after His baptism to the acceptance of the people.

went about doing good—holding up the beneficent character of all His miracles, which was their predicted character (Isa 35:5, 6, &c.).

healing all that were oppressed of the devil—whether in the form of demoniacal possessions, or more indirectly, as in her "whom Satan had bound with a spirit of infirmity eighteen years" (Lu 13:16); thereby showing Himself the Redeemer from all evil.

for God was with him—Thus gently does the apostle rise to the supreme dignity of Christ with which he closes, accommodating himself to his hearers.

God anointed Jesus: it was usual to anoint their kings, priests, and prophets, unto all which offices Christ was anointed by his Father; hence called Christ, as in the Old Testament the Messiah.

Of Nazareth: the apostle is not ashamed of this name, though given to our Saviour by way of contempt; he gloried in the cross of Christ.

With the Holy Ghost and with power; Christ was endued with the Almighty Spirit of God, and with the power of it.

Who went about doing good: all the miracles our blessed Saviour wrought, were works of mercy, for the benefit and relief of those upon whom he wrought them: he could have wrought miracles to destroy and ruin such as would not believe in him, which he was often provoked unto; nay, his apostles would have had him but to permit them by fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans, Luke 9:54, and he would not.

Healing all that were oppressed of the devil: the deliverances our Saviour so often wrought upon such as were possessed of devils, was to show unto them that he was come to destroy the works of the devil, aim to cast him out of the souls of men who were spiritually possessed by him; which also our Saviour did, so that it was a happy calamity for them, which brought them to Christ.

For God was with him; God was with our Saviour,

1. By his might and power doing such miracles.

2. In his extraordinary love to him, Matthew 3:17, and always hearing of him, John 11:42. And also,

3. God was with Christ ousiwdwv, in the fulness of the Godhead, Colossians 2:9.

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth,.... And so declared him to be the Messiah, that was promised to the Jews, and expected by them; the anointed prophet, priest, and King; who because his parents lived at Nazareth, and he was educated there, and there he chiefly preached and wrought his miracles, he was by way of contempt called Jesus of Nazareth: and him God anointed, with

the Holy Ghost and with power; with the gifts and graces of the Spirit, without measure; signified by the descent of the Spirit, as a dove upon him at his baptism, and is what in Psalm 45:7 is called, "the oil of gladness". The person anointed is elsewhere represented as a divine person; as God, and the Son of God, Psalm 2:6 but here under his most contemptible character, by which he was known among men, because it was in his human nature, that he was anointed; and this anointing belongs to him, as considered in his office capacity; from whence he is called the Christ, or anointed of God. The anointer of him is God, which must be understood of God the Father, who is the God of Christ, and the same that anoints his people, 2 Corinthians 1:21 and none but God can anoint with the Holy Ghost; and he it is, with whom Christ is here said to be anointed; who is compared to oil, in allusion to the anointing oil under the former dispensation, used for the anointing of persons, prophets, priests, and kings, and of the tabernacle, and the vessels of it; to the oil that was poured on Aaron's head, which ran down to the skirts of his garments, emblematical of the Spirit poured on Christ, the head, and which from him descends to all the members of his body; and to common oil, both for ornament and refreshment: "power" is added, which is but another name for the Holy Spirit, Luke 24:49. And one particular branch of the extraordinary and immeasurable gifts of the Spirit, bestowed on him as man, was a power of doing miracles: for it follows,

who went about; the land of Judea and all Galilee; which shows laboriousness, diligence, and delight:

doing good; both to the bodies and souls of men; to the latter, by preaching the Gospel to them; and to the former, by curing all their diseases, of whatsoever sort: he did what none of Adam's sons could do, for there is none of them that does good, no not one, Romans 3:10 he was good himself, essentially and naturally good, and therefore he did good, and he did nothing but good: he knew no sin, he did none, nor could any be found in him; and he always did good, that which was according to the will of God, and well pleasing in his sight; and without him no good is done, even by his own people; they have all the grace and strength from him, by which they perform the good things they do: he is the reverse of Satan, who goes about doing all the mischief he can; and he is to be imitated by his followers, who, as they have opportunity, should do good to all men, especially to the household of faith.

And healing all that were oppressed of the devil; both in body, as "lunatics, epileptics, and demoniacs"; and in soul, such as were led captive by him:

for God was with him; as his Son, essentially, through union to him; and as man, from his cradle to his cross, supporting and assisting him, and with his gracious presence comforting him; and by various instances, showing that he came from heaven, and had a divine mission and commission; which had he not, he would never have been encouraged and assisted as he was, as man, and could never have done the things he did: the Ethiopic version very wrongly reads, "for God was with them";

How God {q} anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

(q) This manner of speaking is taken from an old custom of the Jews, who used to anoint their kings and priests, because of which it came to pass to call those anointed upon whom God bestowed gifts and virtues.

Acts 10:38. Ἰησοῦν τὸν ἀπὸ Ν.: in apposition to ῥῆμα, the person in Whom all else was centred, and in Whom Peter had found and now preached “the Christ”; or may be treated as accusative after ἔχρισεν.—ὡς ἔχρ.: taken by St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Jerusalem (so by Bede) to refer to the Incarnation, by St. Athanasius to the Baptism only. But the expression may also be connected with the entrance of our Lord upon His ministry at Nazareth, cf. Luke 4:14; cf. in this passage the mention of Nazareth and Galilee.—εὐεργετῶν: our Lord was really εὐεργέτης, cf. Luke 22:25 (only in St. Luke); “far more truly used of Christ than of Ptolemy the king of Egypt,” Cornelius à Lapide.—καταδυναστευομένους: only elsewhere in Jam 2:6 in N.T., but cf. Wis 2:10; Wis 15:14, Sir 48:12, Jos., Ant., xii., 2, 3. No doubt other diseases besides those of demoniacal possession are included, cf. especially Luke 13:11; Luke 13:16; but a special emphasis on the former exactly corresponds to the prominence of a similar class of disease in Mark 1:23.—ὁ Θεὸς ἦν μετʼ αὐτοῦ, cf. Acts 7:9, John 3:2, so also Luke 1:28; Luke 1:66, and in LXX, Jdg 6:16. We cannot see in the expression a “low” Christology; St. Peter had first to declare that Jesus was the Christ, and it is not likely that he would have entered upon a further exposition of His Person in his introductory discourse with a Gentile convert; but Acts 10:42-43 below, to say nothing of St. Peter’s public addresses, certainly do not point to a humanitarian Christ.

38. how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth] It seems better to take the name “Jesus of Nazareth” as in apposition with the tidings mentioned in the previous verse, making the connection thus: Ye know the tidings, &c., “even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him,” &c. This is the whole scope of what was preached, that Jesus had lived as a man in Nazareth, but yet had been God’s Anointed, the Messiah, and shewn to be so by the mighty works which He did.

healing all that were oppressed of the devil] This is perhaps mentioned as shewing that the power of Jesus was to be not only over physical but over moral evil likewise, and this alone is mentioned because in the healing of the greater, the power to cure the less evil is implied.

for God was with him] As Nicodemus confessed, “No man can do these miracles that thou doest except God be with him” (John 3:2).

Acts 10:38. Ἰησοῦνὡς ἔχρισεν αὐτὸν ὁ Θεὸς, Jesus—how God anointed Him) This being joined by apposition with the word, τὸῥῆμα, depends on ye know. Therefore the words in construction have the same force as if it were said, Ἰησοῦς ὡς ἔχρισται; which is equivalent to, τὰ περὶ Ἰησοῦ, ὃν ἔχρισεν ὁ Θεός. The sentiment is this, that Jesus, and that too as the Christ, was known to them.—ἔχρισεν αὐτὸν, anointed Him) especially in baptism. Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 4:1; Luke 4:14; Luke 4:18.—Πνεύματι Ἁγίῳ καὶ δυνάμει, with the Holy Spirit and with power) The mention of the Holy Ghost is often so made, as that there is added mention of that gift of the Spirit specially which accords with the matter in hand for the time being: as in this place, where the works of Christ are the subject predicated of, there is added, with power. So in ch. Acts 6:3, the Seven, “full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom;” ch. Acts 11:24, “full of the Holy Ghost and of faith;” ch. Acts 13:52, “The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.” Comp. the words, spirit and truth, spirit and life, John 4:23; John 6:63. The concrete and abstract nouns are joined in the same way as in 1 Peter 4:14.—εὐεργετῶν, doing good) All the miracles of Christ brought health and salvation, not injury, to men. The genus, good deeds, is followed by the species, healings.—πάντας, all) There had been, especially at that time, a great multitude of persons possessed and sick.—καταδυναστευομένους, oppressed by) with unjust force.—(μετʼ αὐτοῦ, with Him) He speaks somewhat sparingly of the Majesty of Christ, so as to adapt himself to the capacity of his hearers.

Verse 38. - Even Jesus of Nazareth, how that God anointed him for how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth. The reference to the anointing (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18, 21; Matthew 1:16, 17; Acts 4:27) was necessary to represent him as God's Christ (see Acts 9:22). For the designation, of Nazareth, comp. Acts 2:22; Acts 3:26; Acts 4:10; Acts 6:14; Luke 24:20. Oppressed of the devil. This ascription of disease to Satan agrees with Job 2:7 and Luke 13:16. The word rendered "oppressed" (καταδυναστευομένους) occurs in the New Testament only here and James 2:6, but, with its substantive καταδυναστεία, is found repeatedly in the LXX. and the Apocrypha, and in classical Greek, though rarely. A good example of its force is Exodus 1:13, and of the substantive Exodus 6:7. It means "to rule over oppressively, and by force." In the explanatory addition, For God was with him, Peter teaches what our Lord himself and St. John in his Gospel so constantly do, that our Lord's miracles were wrought by the power of God (see e.g. John 5:17, 19, 30; John 7:28; John 8:28; John 9:3, 4; Luke 11:20, etc.). The unity of the Son with the Father would be taught later. Acts 10:38Anointed (ἔχρισεν)

See on Christ, Matthew 1:1.

Went about (διῆλθεν)

Lit., went through (the country). Compare Acts 8:4.

And healing

The and (καὶ) has a particularizing force: doing good, and in particular, healing.

Oppressed (καταδυναστευομένους)

Only here and James 2:6, on which see note.

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