Summary: Many people think Christ is one of Jesus’ names, (Jesus Christ). Others think it is a cuss word, (Oh Christ). It is neither.
Many people think Christ is one of Jesus’ names, (Jesus Christ). Others think it is a cuss word, (Oh Christ). It is neither.
Christ = Messiah = God’s Conquering King
Christ is the Greek word for Messiah. Christ and Messiah are the same thing. They both literally mean anointed one.
Though many passages in the Old Testament mention and describe the Messiah, they usually do not use the word, Messiah. Instead it is used of those who are anointed (kings, priests, prophets).
Things changed by the time that the New Testament was written. By then Messiah and Christ were used exclusively of the Messiah and not of anointed people.
Christ first of all refers to the promised Messiah, and only indirectly refers to Jesus, since Jesus is the promised Messiah. When Christ is used in the New Testament, don’t automatically think of Jesus. Think of the Messiah, God’s anointed king.
The Messiah concept started when God promised king David that his descendant would build a house for God and God would establish his throne forever (2 Samuel 7:13). From that time on people looked for the kings in David’s royal linage to accomplish these things. That did not happen. After almost twenty generations of Davidic kings, the Babylonians conquered Israel, ended the reign of the Davidic kings, moved Israel’s leaders to Babylon, and took over Israel. Even after this the Jews still looked for the king, the Messiah, to come and rescue them.
The King Came
The Old Testament foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6), be a descendant of king David (2 Samuel 7:13), and live during the time when Jesus lived (Daniel 9:24-27). Jesus met these prophecies. No one else did.
Simeon, an elderly man living during the time of Jesus’ birth had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah (Luke 2:26). He met the baby, Jesus, at the temple and recognized him as the Messiah (Luke 2:27-35). When Jesus was an adult, His students considered him to be the Messiah (Mark 8:29; John 1:41-42). He told people that he was the Messiah (Mark 14:60-62; John 4:25-26). The demons he cast out knew that he was the Messiah (Luke 4:41). Even those who killed him were aware that he could be the Messiah (Luke 23:2).
The gospel of the Christ (Mark 1:1; Romans 1:1, 16; 15:9, 29; 1 Corinthians 9:12, 18, 2 Corinthians 2:12; 4:4; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; Philippians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 3:2) is the good news that the promised king has finally come. For hundreds of years the Jews had waited for Him to come. He came. This is good news. This is the gospel.
The Conquering King Had No Throne
The Messiah was supposed to conquer the enemies of the Jews and free them (Isaiah 41:27-42:1; 52:7-10; 61:1-9, Nahum 1:15). But this conquering king came incognito. He told very few that he was a king. He did not gather an army and mow down the enemy with swords and spears. He allowed his enemies to win. The followers of Christ also are to follow this example and allow their enemies to win over them (This is the underlying theme of 1 Peter - 1 Peter 2:20-23; 4:1).