Did You Know?

Who were the scribes who opposed Jesus?

During his ministry, Jesus encountered scribes not only in Jerusalem but also in smaller towns and villages. Outside of Jerusalem​—and even in Jewish communities outside of Palestine—​such men were minor officials, learned in the Law, who may have served as copyists or local judges.​—Mark 2:6; 9:14; Luke 5:17-21.

In Jerusalem, scribes were closely associated with Jewish government. (Matthew 16:21) Their role there, says The Anchor Bible Dictionary, “seems to be as associates of the priests, both in judicial proceeding and enforcement of Jewish custom and law, and ongoing business in the Sanhedrin.” As high-ranking teachers of the Law, some of these scribes were actually members of the Sanhedrin, or Jewish high court. They served along with the chief priests and Pharisees.

Most often, the scribes appear as Jesus’ religious opponents. However, some did not oppose him. For example, one scribe told Jesus: “I will follow you wherever you are about to go.” Jesus said to another: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”​—Matthew 8:19; Mark 12:28-34.

What did it mean for a person to be anointed?

In the Middle East in Bible times, greasing a person’s head with oil was a sign of favor toward him or an act of hospitality toward a guest. Generally, the oil used was olive oil with perfume added to it. The Hebrews also poured oil on a person’s head, or anointed him, when he was officially appointed to a special position of authority. Aaron, for example, was anointed upon being appointed to serve as high priest. (Leviticus 8:12) In the case of King David, “Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him . . . , and the spirit of Jehovah began to be operative upon David from that day forward.”​—1 Samuel 16:13.

In the Hebrew language, the term used for such anointing is ma·shachʹ, from which the word ma·shiʹach, or Messiah, is derived. The corresponding Greek word is khriʹo, from which comes khri·stosʹ, or Christ. Thus, Aaron and David each can be referred to as a messiah, or an anointed one. Moses too is called a christ, or an anointed one, in the sense that God appointed him to serve as His representative.​—Hebrews 11:24-26.

Jesus of Nazareth was personally appointed by God to a position of great authority. Rather than being anointed with literal oil, Jesus was anointed with God’s holy spirit. (Matthew 3:16) As Jehovah’s chosen Anointed One, Jesus is properly referred to as the Messiah, or Christ.​—Luke 4:18.