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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jesus The Messiah

This week we'll focus on things that are a bit more eternal...

I hope you know this already, but if not let me clear the air. "Christ" was not Jesus' last name. In fact, Christ isn't even a name at all; it's actually a title. It's a Greek word meaning The Anointed One. It's the Greek translation of the Hebrew word moshiach, from which we get our English word "Messiah."

So when you say Jesus Christ (or, better yet, Jesus the Christ), you're really saying Jesus the Messiah, or Jesus the Anointed One.

OK, then, what does it mean to be the Anointed One? Anointed by whom?

In ancient Israel, people were anointed by religious leaders, sometimes by prophets, to signify that the Spirit of God had come upon them to mark them and enable them for a specific task. Kings were among those anointed by prophets to show that they had been chosen by Israel's God to rule His people. Within the Hebrew Scriptures were prophecies of a great king - a great anointed one or Messiah who would rule all the nations and bring salvation to all who would trust in Him.

In the 61st Chapter of the Book of Isaiah, we read this prophecy of the Messiah:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound...

In the Gospels, Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of these words - to be the one anointed to do those very things. Proof of the truth of His claims, as well as proof of the truth of the integrity of the Bible as the Word of God, can be found through the study of what is called "Messianic prophecy." These are the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures which foretold the mission and the identity of the Messiah.

Was Jesus the Messiah? Christians of course say that He was and is. Most Jews throughout history have said "no," although many have also said "yes."

Are you interested in seeing some of these Messianic prophecies? There are many places on the Web to research these matters, but here's a good starting place, at the Bible.org website.

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