The Messiah

The expression “Jesus Christ” is the same as saying “Jesus the Messiah.” “Messiah” means to anoint or to smear with oil. In Biblical times Kings Solomon, Saul and David were anointed as a sign that they were approved of God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are referred to in scripture as God’s anointed ones. The practice of anointing was accomplished by pouring oil on their heads. We find this expression in the 23rd Psalm: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit, following his baptism by John making him the Messiah, God’s anointed savior of the world.—Matt. 3:16,17

The Bible provides insights into the Messiah’s appearance, background and activities. The Prophet Isaiah said the Messiah would be anointed “To bring good news to the afflicted; … to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners. To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (Isa. 61:1,2) Jesus applied this prophecy to himself in Luke 4:16-21.

Daniel prophesied that Messiah would come during the time when Jesus was born. When King Herod heard of Jesus’ birth, he learned that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, Subsequently, Herod had all of the male children of Bethlehem, two years old and under, put to death in a futile attempt to thwart God’s plans, but God provided a way of escape for the baby Jesus—to Egypt.

Early Christians believed that the Messiah would come to do battle with their oppressors. Acts 4:26 tells us the believers prayed for courage in the face of the adversity of their day. They quoted Psalm 2:1,2: “The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.” Despite their opposition, God will set his Son, the Messiah, as a king upon his holy hill of Zion. Then, Messiah will dash the earthly kingdoms to pieces, replacing them with his kingdom which will bless all mankind—vss. 6-12