The leper that was to be cleansed had to bring a log of oil as one of his offerings. It was from this oil that the altar was sprinkled and the leper anointed. The offering became the anointing. Now, if we see in this oil the Holy Spirit, this may seem confusing. How could one “offer up” the Holy Spirit? And having offered it up, how could one then anoint with it? Strange as this might seem, it is exactly what the Lord Jesus did.
Jesus lived without the Holy Spirit for the first thirty years of His life on earth. His prophet, John, had the Holy Spirit upon him in utero. This is a startling contrast. When Jesus arose from His baptismal waters, the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. Doves descend feet down, wings outstretched. It is the shape of the cross. The most predominant use of doves in Scripture is as sacrificial animals. From the day of our Lord’s anointing, the Holy Spirit was showing all who cared to look where He would lead Jesus.
“Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself,” we read in Hebrews 9:14. The Holy Spirit led Him all the way to the cross. But then came that awful moment when He had to bear the full punishment of our sins—separation from God.
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
The Holy Spirit lifted off Jesus, not because He had done wickedly like King David, but because He had chosen to bear our punishment. And it is in this sense that we can see Jesus offering up the Holy Spirit in sacrifice. And in His death, a symbolic promise of the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit was given.
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Blood and water—the Spirit flows where the blood has been outpoured. Like the cleansing of the leper and the ashes of the heifer, the water carries the blood. It is the Holy Spirit who brings to us the cleansing efficacy of the blood.
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
These are the words of promise of the New Covenant. His blood brought us back into the household of God. It cleansed us of our sins. It consecrates us for His service. And the Holy Spirit brings the life of His blood to us in anointing power that we might worship God in spirit and in truth. As priests of Almighty God, let us not neglect the sprinkling of the blood.