Category: Jesus, Word: MESSIAH
November 13, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. (Isaiah 61:1-2)
DEFINITION: “Messiah” is the English spelling of a Hebrew (Old Testament) term meaning “anointed one.” This title referred to the One promised by the prophets. In Greek (New Testament), the same term is “Christ.” Early Christians turned “Christ” into a name for Jesus.
The biggest difference between present-day followers of Jesus and current practitioners of Judaism is whether the Messiah promised in the Hebrew Scriptures came historically in the person of Jesus. Judaism answers the question no; Christians—as the very name implies—answer the question yes.
Without doubt the Hebrew prophets predicted a special work of God in reinstating His people to full fellowship with Himself. This would happen through the dynasty of the house of David that would last forever (2 Sam. 7:14). Isaiah understood this in terms of a coming Prince of Peace who would rule from David’s throne without end (9:6-7; see Lk. 1:32-33).
None of the four Gospels makes sense apart from the conviction that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about a coming Messiah. Matthew cited several predictions that Jesus fulfilled (for example, 1:22-23; 4:14-15; 12:17-18; 27:9-10). Mark opened his Gospel by identifying Jesus as Christ. According to Luke, Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1-2, cited above, and claimed that He fulfilled it in His own person (4:17-21). John’s Gospel shows that both Jews and others recognized Jesus as the Messiah. Indeed, the Fourth Gospel was written to show that Jesus is the promised Messiah who gives eternal life to all who believe in Him (1:41-42; 4:25-26; 10:30-31).
“Christ” quickly became a standard way for believers to refer to Jesus, and the word is found more than 400 times in the Epistles. Of these, more than 100 have simply “Christ” as His name, while more than 100 instances have “Jesus Christ” and more than 80 have “Christ Jesus.” Of these, more than 50 have the full “Lord Jesus Christ,” and most striking of all is the complete name “our Lord Jesus Christ” (or “Jesus Christ our Lord”), occurring more than 30 times. By contrast, there is no instance of “my Christ,” as if to emphasize that He is Lord over an entire community of those believing in and loyal to Him.
In the Old Testament, two kinds of Israelite leaders were literally anointed with oil as a symbol of their official status: priests and kings (Ex. 28:41; 1 Sam. 16:12). This provides important clues about how the first Christians understood Jesus as the Anointed One. According to the Book of Hebrews, Jesus is a priest who offered Himself on behalf of His people and intercedes for them (7:25; 9:11-12). According to Revelation, Jesus is King of kings and will rule His redeemed people forever (17:14).
REFLECTION: How does it help your relationship to Jesus to know that He fulfilled prophecies? What difference does it make that priests and kings in the Old Testament were anointed ones?
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for coming in fulfillment of the biblical prophecies about the coming Messiah. Thank You that as High Priest, you gave Yourself as a perfect sacrifice for sin. Thank You that as King of kings, You rule over all Your people today and that You will come again as King of kings. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.