In the ancient middle east, the majesty of a king was expressed by more than merely his robes and adornment, but also by his royal aroma.
Instead of being crowned during a coronation, Hebrew Kings were annointed with a sacred oil, heavily perfumed with the most expensive spices and only used for consecrating objects in the temple and anointing priests and kings. It’s aroma acted as an invisible crown, bestowing an aura of holiness on it’s recipients.
Even after their anointing, kings would perfume their robes with precious oils so that during royal processions, the fragrance of the expensive oils would inform the crowd that a king was passing by.
King David’s Wedding Psalm 45:7-8. King Solomon Song of Songs 3:6-7.
The word Messiah in Hebrew is Mashiach which literally means “The Annointed One”. (Christos or Christ is the Greek equivalent.) Therefore the word Messiah alludes to the ceremony used to set apart someone chosen by God, like a king or priest.
Looking back at the events preceding and beginning Holy week with the understanding of 1st century Jewish culture, something remarkable unfolds that perhaps we had been missing. The Annointing….
John 12. Six days before the Passover, J-sus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom J-sus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in J-sus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on J-sus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Though Y-shua clarified one aspect of this event himself, commentating that Mary was preparing him for the day of His burial, she may also have been announcing who she believed Him to be…proclaiming Him as The Annointed One, the Messiah!
The Next day, on His way to Jerusalem, nearing the village of Bethphage, he sent two of his disciples ahead, telling them to look for a donkey and its unbroken colt. The disciples were instructed to untie the animals and bring them to him.
Then J-sus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: and a remarkable resemblance to 1 Kings 1:38-49
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
1 Kings 1:38-40 So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites went down and had Solomon mount King David’s mule, and they escorted him to Gihon. Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!” And all the people went up after him, playing pipes and rejoicing greatly, so that the ground shook with the sound.
Hosanna – Please save us! Salvation!
Imagine the scene….Mary, having annointed Him with expensive perfume, Y-shua, just as Solomon had done a thousand years earlier, rode a donkey on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The crowd, waving and laying their cloaks and palm branches before Him, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Likely, the fragrance of the annointing clung to Him… announcing the presence of royalty ….the aroma of The King.
2 Cor 2:14-16 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.