6. Jesus is called the Christ. What does the word “Christ” mean?
The word means anointed. Christ is the English transliteration of the Greek word christos. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for anointed is mashiyach. The English transliteration is messiah. Being anointed is nothing special, however when we look at several of the O.T. verses we can see why we use the word Christ and Messiah with a capital letter – they refer to Jesus, who is God the Son.
7. What verses can you find from the Old Testament that refer to this definition of Christ?
Ps 2:1-2 Why are the nations in an uproar, and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed: (NASB). In this verse, God’s Anointed or Messiah is clearly seen as a conquering king. Anyone who claims to be the Messiah must fulfill this prophecy. While we still wait for Jesus’ return to take dominion over the earth, we find His claim in John 18:37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (NIV) However, Jesus’ first mission was not to take control but to save us from our sins. The truth is that we all need a Savior before we can serve our King.
Ps 2:7-9 "I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee. 'Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. 'Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.'" (NASB) The relationship between God the Father and the Messiah is established in these verses. The Messiah isn’t just an anointed king. He is God’s unique Son. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time knew this, but hey focused more on the verses that showed the Messiah ruling the earth. When Jesus claimed God as His Father, the Jews tried to kill Him because they knew He was claiming to be God as well. They couldn’t comprehend the concept of the Trinity, yet paradoxically, they knew the Messiah had to be God. See John 8:12-58 where Jesus makes His claims to be God’s Son and God. The climax of His claim is in John 8:58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (NIV) The Jews called Him demon possessed and then tried to stone Him. Later, in John 10:24-39 Jesus makes the same claims and they tried to arrest Him.
Ps 2:11-12 Worship the Lord with reverence, and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (NASB) Dan 7:13-14 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (NIV) These verses declare that the Messiah is worthy of worship. Jews knew that to worship anyone or anything other than God was breaking the first commandment, yet Daniel plainly told them that the Son would be worshiped.
John 9:35-38 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him." Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you." Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. (NIV) If Jesus were not God, but was a “good” teacher, then He would have torn His clothes and protested when this man, whom He had healed of blindness, worshiped Him. Look at Acts 12:21-24 where Herod accepted being called a god (an act of worship) by the people. God killed him. Look at Acts 14:11-16 where people tried to worship and offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas. They tore their clothes and set the record straight. It was unthinkable for a Jewish man to accept worship.
Not all of the promises of the Messiah specifically used the word anointed. There were many other descriptions of the Messiah. Ps 16:8 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. (NIV) This verse clearly speaks of His resurrection.
Isa 53:6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (NIV) He was destined to bear our sins for us because we can’t pay the penalty for ourselves. Isaiah 53 clearly speaks of the suffering Messiah. He was rejected and crushed for our sins. He was silent before His accusers. He was killed, yet had committed no sin. It was God’s will that He suffered for us. The result of His suffering is found in Isa 53:5 … the punishment that brought us peace was upon him … (NIV) Isaiah 53 is such a clear predication of Jesus’ suffering and mission, proving that He is the Messiah, that Jews do not read it in their synagogues. When asked about it, they deny it speaks of the Messiah, yet they can’t explain what it means.
When you see the word Christ, think of our King that died for us and brought us peace with God.