Messiah - Anointed One

MESSIAH THE ANOINTED ONE: Webster says Messiah is a title given to “the promised Deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.” Messiah is derived from the Hebrew word mashiach which means “anointed one” and which corresponds to the NT title of “Christ” (Christos = anointed one). As Andrew exclaimed to his brother Peter “We have found the MESSIAH” (which translated means CHRIST).” (John 1:41) And as the Samaritan woman at the well said to Jesus “I know that MESSIAH is coming (He Who is called CHRIST).” (Jn 4:25) So when you encounter the title “CHRIST” in the NT, you are really encountering “MESSIAH.” Let me encourage you, as you read the NT, especially the Gospels and Acts, to consider substituting “MESSIAH” when you see the title “CHRIST”. Indeed, even “Jesus Christ” can properly be read as “Jesus the Messiah,” for Christ is actually Jesus’ official title more than His proper Name. Some translations such as the NIV (2011 edition) and Christian Standard Bible (Holman) even translate “Christ” in the Gospels and Acts with the title “Messiah” to emphasize the importance of the concept of Messiah. And as discussed below the majority of Jews (and this Gentile writer) have come to salvation by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9–note) as the Spirit unveiled the OT messianic prophecies (2Cor 4:6–note, Jn 3:8) to clearly show “Jesus (is) the Messiah appointed for” them and for us, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek (anyone not Jewish).” (Acts 3:20, Ro 1:16–note). In fact the main purpose of John’s Gospel is that “you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His Name.” (Jn 20:31) Jesus is the Anointed One, the fulfillment of the three OT offices which God anointed (selected and set apart for special service): Prophet (Ps 105:15–note, Dt 18:18, fulfilled = Jn 7:40), Priest (Ex 29:7, Lev 4:3–note, Ps 110:4–note fulfilled = Heb 6:19-20–note) and King (1Sa 2:10, Ps 2:2,6–note shadows of Messiah fulfilled = Mk 15:26,Rev 19:16–note). Norman Geisler adds that the concept of MESSIAH (Christ) “is the key to the interpretation of the Bible, not only in that He is the fulfillment of OT types and prophecies, but in that Christ (Messiah) is the tie between the Testaments, the content of the whole canon and the unifying theme in the Bible!” In short the entire Bible is “Messiah-centric” or “Christo-centric!” Beloved brethren, God’s Anointed is appointed, and we shall not be disappointed! “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!, Let angels prostrate fall; Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all.” (Perronet)

MESSIAH THE EXPECTED ONE: The anticipation of national deliverance through a Man anointed by God has been a theme of Judaism throughout the ages, even as many first century Jews were “eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel…looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Lk 2:25,38). John the Baptist asked the question every pious Jew had been asking for centuries “Are You the Expected One?” (Mt 11:3, Lk 7:19-20), which is another way of asking “Jesus, Are You the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Deliverer?” The 12th article of the orthodox Jewish creed says “I believe with a perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and though He tarry, yet will I wait daily for His coming.” (Rambam) The first century Jews expected a conquering king who would free them from Rome, but instead this Messiah died a shameful death on a Roman cross. And so there was great disappointment because Jesus did not appear to be the Expected One. Have you ever been discouraged because someone in whom you placed your hope let you down?” Then you can identify with the two disciples who walked on the dusty road to Emmaus and were joined by a resurrected Stranger whose identity was veiled. Jesus saw they were “looking sad” for they “were hoping that (Jesus) was (the Messiah) Who was going to redeem Israel.” (Lk 24:17, 21) Had not Zacharias said that “the Lord God of Israel…(had) visited us and accomplished redemption (paid the ransom to effect deliverance) for His people?” (Lk 1:68) And yet Israel was still in Rome’s grip, a grip “as strong as iron!” (Da 2:40–note) Against this backdrop of hopelessness and despair began the greatest Bible lesson ever taught, for the Teacher, the Messiah, “beginning with Moses (Pentateuch – Genesis to Deut) and all the Prophets explained to them what was said in ALL the (OT) Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27, cp Jn 5:39, Lk 16:29-31)

And so Messiah gave hope to these downcast disciples explaining that the woman’s SEED (Messiah) would have His heel bruised but would crush the head of the serpent (Ge 3:15 – the protoevangelium = the “first Gospel,” cp Heb 2:14-15–note, Ro 16:20–note). He explained that the prophet Micah had foretold of His birth from the clan of Judah in Bethlehem Ephrathah (Micah 5:2–note). He explained that 500 years earlier Daniel had predicted the exact time of His arrival as “Messiah the Prince” (Da 9:25NASB–note) and that He would not conquer but “be cut off” (crucified) (Da 9:26–note). In fact 60 major messianic prophecies with 270 ramifications (Jewish rabbis saw up to 456 messianic allusions!) were inspired by the Spirit so that there would be absolutely no doubt to OT readers that the Man Jesus was truly the long expected Messiah. Sadly, first century Jews were looking for Messiah to be a conquering King, not a suffering Servant and as a result most failed to recognize Him as God’s “Wonderful” One (Isaiah 9:6–note) because they missed Isaiah’s later prediction that He would be “despised, forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief…stricken, smitten of God, afflicted…and pierced through for our transgressions…crushed for our iniquities…by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5) In His first coming Messiah came as a King riding a donkey to conquer sin (Zech 9:9, Mt 21:4-5), but in His second coming He will return as King of kings riding on a white horse to conquer sinful men (Rev 19:11-16–note)! “Born Thy people to deliver, born a Child and yet a King; born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.” (C Wesley)

MESSIAH THE END POINT: Jesus was the “end point”, the fulfillment of all the OT prophecies that foretold of a coming Messiah. Many men have claimed to be the Messiah over the centuries and these pretenders will proliferate in the last days for Jesus warned that “false Messiah’s and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect” (Mt 24:24), but only Jesus fulfilled every detail of the more than 300 OT Messianic prophecies. Applying the laws of probability, Stoner says that the chance of fulfilling just 8 of the 300+ Messianic prophecies is “1 in 10 to the 17th power.” To help visualize these odds Stoner says imagine one had 10 to the 17th power silver dollars and scattered them over the surface of the state of Texas producing a pile two feet deep. Mark one of the silver dollars distinctively and stir them together. Now blindfold a man with instructions to travel anywhere in the state and select one coin. The chance of finding the marked coin would be the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing just eight prophecies fulfilled in one man! And Jesus fulfilled every detail of every prophecy perfectly declaring to His disciples that “ALL THINGS which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Lk 24:44) As Josh McDowell said the “New Testament writers spotlighted the Old Testament “ADDRESS” of Jesus for one main reason–to convince their Jewish readers that Jesus was the Messiah—the Deliverer they had been praying for God to send.” “Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free; from our fears and sins release us: Let us find our rest in Thee.” (C Wesley)

An old pastor was speaking with an inquisitive Jewish man and began to read Isaiah 53 to him asking where he thought this was in the Bible? The Jewish man said “probably Matthew” and when he was told it was “his Scripture” (the Jewish Old Testament), he realized that this description was none other than the Messiah! (See link below for Michael Goldstone’s fascinating testimony) The apostles give us a good pattern to imitate when we speak to our Jewish friends, as they repeatedly appealed to the Messianic prophecies to substantiate their claim that Jesus was the long expected Messiah. And so Peter declared to the Jews that “the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His MESSIAH should suffer, He has thus FULFILLED.” (Acts 3:18NIV, cp Acts 5:42NIV) Paul speaking to the Jews at Thessalonica was “explaining (lit. “opening wide” the OT passages) and giving evidence (lit. “setting before” them) that the MESSIAH had to suffer and rise again from the dead, saying, “This Jesus Whom I am proclaiming to you is the MESSIAH.” (Acts 17:3NIV–Acts 2:31) and that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold. (Jonah 1:17, Mt 12:40, Ps 16:10–note)” (1Cor 15:3-4–note) “Tis finished! The Messiah cries, Cut off for sins, but not His own: Accomplished is the sacrifice, The great redeeming work is done.” (C Wesley)

MESSIAH OUR EXAMPLE: Paul instructs believers to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (Messiah).” (1Cor 11:1NIV) But how can we imitate the Messiah? What pattern did He provide? At the beginning of Messiah’s ministry, He was FILLED WITH “the Holy Spirit…and LED about by the Spirit in the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil” (Lk 4:1-2). We as His followers are commanded to continually be “FILLED WITH (controlled by) the Spirit” (Eph 5:18–note) that we might be “LED by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:18–note) After His temptation “Jesus returned to Galilee in the POWER (dunamis = inherent ability to accomplish a task) of the Spirit.” (Lk 4:14) Similarly, we as His followers are “to be strengthened with POWER (dunamis) through His Spirit in our inner man.” (Eph 3:16–note, read Acts 1:8–note) When Jesus entered the synagogue in Nazareth to begin His ministry, He read from Isaiah’s Messianic prophecy “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has ANOINTED (chrio – verb root of Christos = Christ) Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Luke 4:18-19 quoting Isa 61:1-2). As Warren Wiersbe explains “When our Lord lived on earth, ALL THAT HE DID was directed by the Father and EMPOWERED by the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father gave to Jesus “without limit” (Jn 3:34).” And so at the beginning of His ministry “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing” (Acts 10:38). And even as Jesus was anointed for ministry, the Father has established us “in Christ and ANOINTED us.” (2Cor. 1:21NIV) John adds that like Jesus every believer has “an ANOINTING (the Holy Spirit) from the Holy One” (1Jn 2:20–note) and that “the anointing which we received from Him abides (continually) in” us empowering us and enabling us to “walk in the same manner as (Messiah) walked.” (1Jn 2:6–note). Are you walking in your natural “power” or in the SUPERNATURAL POWER of the Spirit Who anointed you for service? If we are to successively walk in the “good (God) works which God prepared (for us) beforehand” (Eph 2:10–note), we must continually seek to follow Messiah’s example of ministry, “redeeming the time, for the days are evil.” (Eph 5:16–note)

“Give every flying minute,
Something to keep in store;
Work, for the night is coming,
When man works no more.”
(Anna Coghill)

MESSIAH OUR EXPECTATION: After American troops were forced to surrender the Philippines in May, 1942, General Douglas MacArthur vowed to retake the islands, giving his famous “prophetic promise” “I WILL RETURN” which was printed on thousands of matchbooks, buttons, bars of soap and leaflets dropped by air all over the Philippines to encourage and give hope. MacArthur kept his promise! But even better the “Commander of the Lord’s army” (Josh 5:15NLT), Jesus our Messiah, made a similar “prophetic promise” to His disciples declaring “I go to prepare a place for you” and “I WILL COME AGAIN!” (Jn 14:3) As Hoekema rightly observes “The faith of the New Testament is dominated by this expectation.” Indeed, the NT has some 318 prophetic promises (direct and indirect) describing Messiah’s triumphant return as King of kings, and Lord of lords (Rev 19:11-16–note), which means that there is approximately one prophecy on the Second Coming in every 20 verses! In fact it has been estimated that for every prophecy of Messiah’s First Coming, there are eight describing His Second Coming! As the old Scottish preacher said “The doctrine of Messiah’s Second Coming, as it appears in the NT, is like a lofty mountain that dominates the entire landscape.” John Walvoord adds that Messiah’s Second Coming is also “implied in hundreds of OT prophecies” often mingling them with His first coming as in Isa 61:1-2a which was fulfilled at Messiah’s first coming (Lk 4:18-21) and Isa 61:2b which describes “the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn” to be fulfilled at Messiah’s Second Coming. And so just as MacArthur’s promise on leaflets gave hope during the dark days of WWII, the prophecies of Messiah’s Second Coming “give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises” (Ro 15:4NLT–note). As this world grows darker and the promised return of Messiah grows brighter, we should continually be “looking (expectantly) for the BLESSED HOPE and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ (Messiah) Jesus.” (Titus 2:13–note) Paul called Messiah’s return ‘the Blessed Hope’ and as our world unravels morally and ethically, indeed He appears to be the only hope for the world! And so it is interesting that the largest type used by newspapers for headlines of astounding events is called “second coming” type and is reserved for the most amazing front-page news (beginning or end of wars, moon landings, etc). One day soon every eye “will see Him,” (Rev 1:7–note) the One for Whom “Second Coming” type was named! Messiah came first as the “Man of sorrows” (Isa 53:3), but will come again “with power and great glory” (Mt 24:30) as Judge and King (2Ti 4:1–note). Martin Luther well said, ‘I preach as though Messiah died yesterday, rose from the dead today and was coming back tomorrow.” How different our lives would be if we lived them in that spirit! As one has well said “Don’t complain about what this world is coming to. Proclaim the One Who is coming to this world.”

“And for the hope of His return,
Dear Lord, Your Name we praise;
With longing hearts we watch and wait;
For that great day of days!”

APPLICATION: Jesus may come at ANY time, so we must be ready ALL the time! This begs the question, do my day to day choices reflect the reality of an expectant attitude? “Expectant looking” is always a great “antidote” for “apathetic living!” Look for Christ’s future return, and you will live for Christ’s glory in the present, remembering that His Second Coming is as certain as His FIRST! Indeed, “the certainty of the Second Coming should touch and tincture every part of our daily behavior.” (Blanchard) “We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” (1Jn 3:2-3–note, cp 2Pe 3:11–note) “Precisely because we cannot predict the moment, we must be ready at all moments.” (C S Lewis) “Uncertainty about the date of the Lord’s return is calculated to keep believers in an attitude of constant expectation and to preserve them from despondency.” (Ryle) John Piper asks “Does your mind return frequently to the truth of Christ’s appearing? When your mind turns to the truth of His appearing, does your heart want it—is there an eagerness to see Him? Do you pray for His coming? Maranatha, prayed the early church! Come, Lord Jesus!” Amen! (Rev 22:20–note)

Play Chris Tomlin’s “Jesus Messiah”