Ever since God’s first prophecy of the coming of a Redeemer, people have sought Him out. God had a plan from the minute He spoke creation into existence; man would need a savior. He had a plan when He planted the garden; a plan when He created the birds, land animals, and sea creatures; He had a plan when he breathed life into man, the creature in His image, that would cause Him much heartache – He had a plan. A chosen man would come and save the people from themselves. Someone set apart, anointed for one purpose, to give His life for all life: Jesus Christ the Messiah.
We hear that name all the time, Messiah. But what does it really mean? Where does the name originate? What is Jesus Christ the Messiah supposed to accomplish?
Let’s begin with an English lesson, rather a Hebrew lesson:
Jesus Christ the Messiah: Defined
Messiah derives from the Hebrew word, משח. When translated is Mashah, which means “to anoint.” The Hebrew word, משיח , translates as Mashiah, which means “Anointed One.”
Mashah is a verb. This anointing gives people or items a consecration for a specific purpose. Prophets, priests, and kings are anointed, as well as temple items.
When the “yod” is added, the verb becomes a noun, Mashiah, and speaks of a person, the Anointed One. The English version of Mashiah is, Messiah.
Who is the Messiah of the Old Testament?
Both Old and New Testaments speak of the Messiah. In the Old Testament, the Messiah is spoken of in the future tense. He was the promised one to come to redeem the Jews from their captivity. However, as we will learn in our next section, Jews misunderstood what this redemption actually meant.
- Isaiah 7:14 – If there was one verse that set the course for who the future Messiah would be, this is it. The verse tells who the Messiah’s mother would be; it tells of His divine nature and gives His purpose within a name.
- Isaiah 9:6-7 – Another prophecy of His birth, with additional names, all of which, again, speaks to His divine nature. It also speaks of the establishment of His kingdom.
- Deuteronomy 18:15-18 – Speaks of the Messiah as a prophet speaking the words of the Lord. Remember, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed.
- Daniel 9:24-27 – We all know Daniel from the Children’s historical story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. But did you know that Daniel, later in his life, was a prophet? God showed him many things about what is to come. He saw glimpses of who the Messiah is, not only in his time on earth but into the future and the end of time when the Messiah will fully be revealed.
- Isaiah 53 – In this passage, the Messiah is called “the righteous one”. Another name attributed to the nature of the Messiah. This chapter contains serious details about how the Messiah would sacrifice His own life and the meaning behind the action. It is the primary prophecy that proves Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Who is the Messiah of the New Testament?
In the New Testament, the Messiah is addressed as being present. He is recognized through the fulfillment of the prophecies laid out in the Old Testament. It is now that Jesus Christ the Messiah is revealed.
- John 1:29-51 – Jesus is calling His disciples. First, through the revelation of John the Baptist, then as disciples recognize Jesus Christ the Messiah for who He is.
- John 4:23-26 – In speaking to the woman at the well, Jesus Himself, proclaims He is the Messiah.
- Luke 4:15-21 – Jesus stands up in the synagogue and reads a passage from Isaiah 61. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Jesus says that He is the fulfillment of that prophecy.
- John 20:30-31 – In John’s final words, he reveals that Jesus did so much more than what he wrote about. He writes in the hope that the reader will believe in Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Jesus Christ the Messiah: His Purpose
- Set Apart – His life had a purpose, an anointed purpose. From birth to death, He had a destiny – To redeem the world from their sins.
- Without Sin – The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus the Great High Priest. He is to make sacrifices for all, yet He, Himself, is without sin.
- To Minister to Others – As we read in both Luke 4 and Isaiah 61, Jesus came to bring the good news to all; someone is here to set the captive free. Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually.
- To Die – As Isaiah 53 unfolds, we witness the manner of death, Jesus Christ the Messiah must endure. What is greater is that He knew He was sent to die. Jesus accepted this willingly. Knowing that His sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, was the only way to redeem the world.
- To be raised again – Both Isaiah 53 and Psalm 16 speak of His resurrection. Yes, indeed Jesus Christ the Messiah would die, but He would not remain in the grave.
- To be the Intercessor between humanity and God – Isaiah 53:12 says in its final words on the significance of the Messiah’s sacrifice, “He bore the sins of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” We will see how powerful that statement is within our final section.
Why Jesus Christ the Messiah matters:
There is one major significance to the name Messiah that most do not realize. And the confusion and separation come through language barriers. However, if you understand both Hebrew and Greek, then you will already know this fact.
Before we go on it is important to understand that Christ is NOT Jesus’ last name. It is a title. Much like the name Messiah is a title.
Okay, here is the one thing most people do not realize. The name Christ derives from the Greek word, “Christos.” Care to guess what that roughly translates to in Hebrew? Yep, you guessed it, Christos in Greek is the equivalent of the Hebrew term Messiah. They are one and the same.
Scripture screams out the significance of Jesus Christ the Messiah. He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10), to save the world through his death (John 3:17), and to be the intercessor between man and God (Isaiah 53:12). This is echoed in Paul’s first letter to Timothy. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”
Jesus Christ the Messiah as the intercessor between man and God, has great significance behind it. First, let’s ask what does an intercessor do? An intercessor stands in on behalf of someone else. Jesus stands in place of you and me. He mediates our case of sin before God. Sin proclaims us guilty and worthy of death. BUT, as Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus Christ died for our sins. He now stands before God and shows Him the scars that proclaim us redeemed. As Isaiah 53:5 says, “and by His stripes, we are healed.”