Day 7: Jesus is the Messiah or Christ

Prayer:  Our Father in heaven, show us Your magnificent plan that You had set in place before the foundation of the world.  Help us to understand that Jesus is the One who was promised from the very beginning.  Teach us the wonder of the Messiah.  Amen.

Primary Scriptures:

John 1:41:  He [Andrew] first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

John 4:25-26:  The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).  “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

Christ is simply the Greek word for Messiah, which comes from the Hebrew word Mashiach.  Mashiach comes from the Hebrew verb mashach, which means to anoint with oil.  Anointing with oil was used ceremonially for the inauguration of a new high priest, for the appointment of a new king, and for the recognition of a prophet.  Jesus was all of these, another three in one. 

These three offices were distinct and counter-balancing for one another, similar to the checks and balances of our three branches of government; they held sway over different, yet intersecting and interwoven, aspects of society.  The king held political authority; the priest had jurisdiction over the religious aspect; and the prophet spoke to the social order.  Though distinct from one another, they were not mutually exclusive; rather each office in some ways had authority over the other two, and each office was in submission to the other two. 

Never had one man held more than one of these offices.  This is why the prophecies regarding the Messiah were confusing.  Some prophecies speak of Him not just as a prophet, but as The Prophet, one who would come and be the greatest Prophet who ever lived, who would be the fulfillment of, culmination of, and prototype of the prophetic office.  Other Messianic prophecies spoke of Him as a king; and again, this would be no ordinary king, but The King who would eclipse and nullify every other king throughout the entire history of the world and establish a kingdom that would never perish.  This was a King with an eternal kingdom.  Yet other prophecies spoke of Him in religious terms:  in this regard He would be both priest and sacrifice.  He was to be the ultimate High Priest whose priesthood would continue forever; there would never be need of another (Hebrews 7:24).  And His sacrifice also be the final, triumphant sacrifice, after which no other sacrifice would ever be needed again (Hebrews 10:12).  His priesthood and His sacrifice would save us "to the uttermost" and perfect us forever (Hebrews 7:25, 10:14).

How could one man fulfill all three?  How could He suffer and be triumphant? How could He speak prophetically, penetratingly into the culture and yet hold absolute authority?  How could He mediate man’s relationship with God and speak with thundering condemnation and establish the laws by which the people were to live?  The Jewish mind could not reconcile this conundrum, so they believed there would be two Messiahs.  But really, would there not need to be three – or four:  king, prophet, priest, and sacrifice?

But there was only One.  One Messiah.  From the first promise made to man after the first sin in the opening pages of Genesis throughout the entire Old Testament, God continued to shed more and more light on who this promised One would be and what He would accomplish.  Promise after promise, prophecy after prophecy, God unveiled the portrait of His Messiah, events and timing so specific that His identification could not be mistaken.  Yet it was mistaken. 

Israel had waited so long; they had watched and prayed.  Then one day a Man comes claiming to be the One, the very One they had hung all their hopes on.  But they could not see it.  They had embraced only part of the picture, and He didn’t seem to fit that part.  They pressed Him over and over again to clearly identify Himself:  Was He the promised One, the Christ?  His works proved it, His words claimed it; but they would not believe.  So the promised Hope of the world was scorned, treated as an outcast, rejected, and cruelly murdered.  They missed it.

But the promise of God was not dependent on their belief.  In fact, their unbelief fulfilled the very purposes of God:  the Prophet because Priest and Sacrifice, then rose victorious over the strongest of reigning monarchs, Death itself, and He ascended to sit on the throne of highest heaven, reigning from there till all His enemies are made his footstool. 

When we speak of Jesus as the Christ or the Messiah, we are proclaiming that this is the One whom God prophesied would crush the serpent’s head in Genesis 3:15, whom God anointed as His King to one day rule the nations with a rod of iron (Psalm 2), whose kingdom would not only never end (Isaiah 9:6-7) but also put an end to all other kingdoms (Daniel 2:44, 7:14).  The Promised One, the Messiah, has come:  sin and the serpent have been dealt the crushing blow; death, sin’s consequence, has been conquered; a new Kingdom is advancing.  The world is not what it used to be.  A new commander, a new Prince (Daniel 9:25), has wrested the power and authority from the prince of this world (John 12:31); the Second Adam now has dominion (cf. Genesis 1:28 & I Corinthians 15:45, 47).

At this season we commemorate the coming of the Messiah.  But this same Jesus promised to return, a second coming.  So we also look forward to the Messiah and the fulfillment of the rest of the prophetic picture.  As the song says, “Bethlehem morning is more than just a memory; for the Child who was born there is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He will come again.”  He said, “Lift up your heads for your redemption draws near.”

 

Jesus Christ:  The Messiah, the long-promised One Who was prophesied would come; the Christ, God’s Anointed One.

Other Related Scriptures:  

John 6:69:  “We have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

John 7:26-27:  “But look!  He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him.  Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?  However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one know where He is from.”

John 7:31:  And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”

John 7:40-42:  Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”  Others said, “This is the Christ.”  But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?”

John 9:22:  His [the man born blind whose sight Jesus restored] parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue.

John 10:24-25:  Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt?  If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”  Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe.  The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.”

John 11:27:  She [Martha] said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

John 20:30-31:  And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Song:  Listen to the Hallelujah Chorus

Family Worship:
Discuss with your family how the first coming of the Messiah changed the history of the world.  What are some of the ways the message of the Gospel has changed governments and cultures?  How is Christ’s Kingdom advancing in the world?  What evidences do we see of that?  Conclude your family time with prayer for Christ’s Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.  Pray for specific countries or people groups to accept Jesus as the Messiah.  Pray for His Kingdom to advance.

Take an evening sometime during this Christmas season to listen all the way through Handel’s Messiah.  Turn the lights off, light some candles or plug in your Christmas lights, and turn your living room into a concert hall.  Follow Handel’s train of thought as he uses one Scripture after another to reveal the fullness of Christ.  Worship!  Make this a yearly family tradition.  Then spend the night together camping out in the living room with the Christmas lights left on.  Little ones can be tucked into sleeping bags before the music starts, to fall asleep to this magnificent, Christ-exalting work of art.