After writing my previous post (Jesus: Name above all Names), I received an e-mail asking what is the meaning of Christ and whether it was Jesus’ last name. I gave them a little bit of the sense and told them that the name, “Christ,” was my next post in the series.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
What does the title mean, “the Christ?” It means “the anointed one.” Christ (Χριστός, Christós) is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term “Messiah” (מָשִׁיחַ, mâshîyach). Messiah and it base word are used 39 times in the Old Testament, translated only two times in Daniel 9:25-26 as Messiah. The remaining applications are translated as “anointed.” Jesus describes Himself as the anointed by God.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Christ received an anointing straight from God, an individual appointment, to be the savior of the world. Still, what is the connection with the Old Testament? The name Jesus reminds us of Joshua and his victories as a servant of God. Does Christ/Messiah direct our attention anywhere? Yes, through specific offices that each received an anointing. Three Old Testament roles were each preceded by being anointed: the prophet, the priest, and the king.
Jesus was anointed as our Prophet, as Luke 4:18-19 points out, to preach. He proclaimed the Kingdom of God. Deuteronomy 18:15 and Acts 3:22 are records that God would raise a prophet from the people who would again be like Moses. Leading a great deliverance of those in the bondage of sin too great freedom in the Lord.
Jesus was also anointed as our Priest. Psalm 110:4 and Hebrew 7:17 direct our attention that Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchizedek. One that existed before the law and not under the Levitical sacrificial system. Other scriptures note Christ as our Great High Priest. Through the perfect priesthood of the Christ, our sins were once and for all forgiven in His sacrifice.
Finally, anointed as King, Jesus reigns forever on the throne of God as the pioneer of our salvation. Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 21:5, and Luke 1:33 as tell us about the eternal kingdom of Jesus. He rules righteousness and justice. The Gospels are the pronouncement that a new King has come. His name is Jesus, the Christ.