Olive oil was highly valued by the people of first-century Israel. They used it in food preparation and preservation, in medicine, and in cosmetics. Olive oil was also used to lubricate wheels and hinges. Its most important use, however, was probably as a fuel source for pottery lamps.
The symbolic importance of olive oil is apparent by its use as anointing oil on an appointee to a religious office. To be a messiah is to be an “anointed one” (Greek: Christ). While men anointed other men with oil for a spiritual task, God anointed his Son for a task no other human could fulfill. Ultimately, God’s Chosen One was the Messiah, the title Jesus claimed.
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