July 11, 2016

crown of thorns


The title Christ is so often used in conjunction with the name of Jesus that it has virtually become His name. One does not normally refer to Jesus as “Jesus bar Joseph” or even as “Jesus of Nazareth.” Rather, His full name is considered to be “Jesus Christ.” Because the term Christ is perceived to be a name, the full significance of it may be lost. Actually, Jesus is a name but Christ is a title. It is used more often than any other title for Jesus in the New Testament.

Christ comes from the Greek word christos, which means “anointed.” It corresponds to the Hebrew word translated “messiah.” When Jesus is called “Christ,” He is being called “the messiah.” If we were to translate the name and the title directly into English, we would say “Jesus messiah.” With this title, we are making a confession of faith that Jesus is the long-awaited anointed one of Israel, the Savior who would redeem His people.

In the Old Testament, the concept of the Messiah grew over a period of many years as God unfolded the character and role of the Messiah progressively. The term messiah initially meant “one anointed of God for a specific task.” Anyone who was anointed to perform a work for God, such as a prophet, a priest, or a king, could be called “messiah” in the broad sense. Slowly, through the prophetic utterances of the Old Testament, a concept was developed of the Messiah, one who would be uniquely anointed of God to fulfill a divine task. When the New Testament writers ascribed the fulfillment of those prophecies to Jesus, they made a statement of tremendous importance. They were saying that Jesus was the one “who was to come.” He fulfilled all the promises of God that converge in the person of the Messiah.

In the Old Testament, the concept of the Messiah is not a simple one, but has many nuances. There are different strands of messianic expectancy woven through the tapestry of these ancient books. At first glance, some of these appear contradictory. One of the main strands of messianic expectancy is the idea of a king like David who would restore the monarchy of Israel. There is a triumphant note in the expectation of a Messiah who would reign over Israel and put all enemies under His feet. This was the most popular variety of messianic expectancy at the time Jesus appeared on the scene. Israel had suffered since its conquest by the Romans and was bristling under the oppression of this alien yoke. A vast number of people were yearning for the fulfillment of the prophecies of the coming Messiah who would overthrow the Roman government and restore independence to Israel.

Another aspect of the concept of the Messiah was that of the Suffering Servant of Israel, the one who would bear the sins of the people. This notion is found most clearly in the Servant Songs of the prophet Isaiah, with Isaiah 53 being the chief text that the New Testament writers used to understand the ignominy of Jesus’ death. The figure of a despised and rejected servant stands in stark contrast with the concept of a royal king.

PRAY FOR PAUL, one of my best friends, he just had a heart attack on Thursday and is now home with a stent and hopefully enough sense to follow the doctors orders

Pray for Ann, she went from trauma unit to icu to recovery room and now to a rehab center. Severe brain damage from a fall, she is angry because she’s being kept alive. But she also angry enough to stay alive, lots of anger. She doesn’t know the Lord, so I look at every day another chance.

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