“Is anyone sick? He must call for the elders of the ecclesia and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).

Elders? Why not the physicians?

Only two passages in the Old Testament mention elders in connection with anointing, both of them accounts of the consecration of David as king (2 Samuel 5:3; 1 Chronicles 11:3). To be anointed by the elders of the assembly is to be acknowledged as king .

And so too the sick member of the church: By the anointing, his sickness is made royal, identified as a specific form of union with the Suffering King, the new David, who is the Head of the church.

See the anointed man at church, and you see what it means to take a cross to follow Jesus.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart