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What Does ‘Christ’ Actually Mean? Pt 2

by | Thu, Aug 5 2021

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We began in our previous program to learn about what the word ‘Christ’ means, most of us know that it means ‘anointed’ but we also discovered that in the overwhelming majority of places in the Old Covenant, the word was used in conjunction with the anointing of a king. So the word Christ is referring to a king.

Now we can look at what it means in relation to Jesus Himself.

By the time Jesus was born, the Jews were back in their historic, promised homeland after their first exile into Babyonian, but they were not a self-governing nation, they were living under the occupying rule of the Romans. In fact, from the time of the Babylonian exile of Daniel’s day, until May 14, 1948, Israel was constantly under the domination of one occupying force after another.

When Gabriel visited Mary (Miriam) and revealed to her that she had been chosen by the Lord to bear the Messiah (Mashiach), he said this about the Son she would bear;

Luke 1:31-33, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus (Yeshua), He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

As mentioned, Israel at the time of Jesus was not ruling itself, David’s physical, political throne was non-existent at that time. So an eternal kingdom ruled by a king from the line of David has yet to happen. This prophecy concerning David’s family lineage and the promise of a son who would be an eternal king is the seedbed of all of the messianic prophecies that speak of the “Son of David” and the coming messianic king. The cultural image of Jesus that we see in the Gospel accounts is in fact that of a king, He was seen as the Anointed One the Scriptures had foretold would come bringing redemption with Him. We know in our mind that Jesus is a king, but we tend to treat Him far more casually because He was so available and accessible to the people. But Jesus is a ‘KING’ and should be treated accordingly.

When a new king rose to power, it was customary for other kingdoms to send emissaries bearing gifts to establish friendly relations between the nations. This is exactly what happened when Jesus was born; Magi from the east – Persia, official dignitaries known as ‘king makers’ in their own culture – travelled the great distance to welcome the newborn King of the Jews and blessed Him with precious gifts. (Matt 2) This fulfilled prophecy in Num 24:17, Isa 60:1-6, and Psalm 72.

We’re talking about a distance of approximately 1000km on camel; perhaps a journey of around two months. That’s a long distance and a great deal of effort to visit a tiny baby in a war torn country that had no apparent connection to that nation, other than Daniel and the other Jews still living there from the time of the Babylonian captivity.

Another image of Jesus as King is seen in the account of Him riding a donkey into Jerusalem. This action was often part of the annunciation of a new king…in fact, it happened to Solomon. Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet and many others with them, set Solomon on King David’s mule and led him to the Gihon Spring where they anointed him with sacred oil, and declared him to be king of the nation of Israel. (1 Kings 1:38-39)

The prophet Zechariah prophesied that the future Jewish Messiah would enter Jerusalem on a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you, He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey, even a colt, the foal of a donkey.’

This was fulfilled when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the crowds shouted out Psalm 118 which is a messianic psalm. The people were declaring that Jesus was in fact the ‘Son of David’, the One in whom they had been waiting for!

Matthew 21:9, ‘The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.”‘

Don’t forget too that during Jesus’s trial, the main question asked of Him was, “Are you the King of the Jews?”, to which He answered yes.

Luke 23:2-3, ‘And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”‘

The Pharisees here actually emphasised that the title of Christ actually means king! What are the implications of this admission? During Jesus’s earthly life and ministry, He often referred to His kingdom as being “not of this world”. (John 18:36) He was of course referring to the kingdom of God, a kingdom that is made up of those who know, love and submit to God who reigns over them.

The people who populate the earth can’t all live in the land of Israel, but God wants the all humanity to be part of His kingdom and through Jesus the Messiah they can be. So the kingdom Jesus was pointing to, at that particular time during His earthly ministry years was a spiritual kingdom. That is absolutely true. However, that’s not the sum total of the kingdom that Jesus will rule over. Remember, Gabriel told Mary (Miriam) that the Son she was to bear would sit on the throne of His father David…and during His earthly life, Jesus never did that. His future rule over a physical, political kingdom is yet history future.

Gabriel was pointing to a time way ahead in future human history when Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of David, would return to earth at the end and culmination of all things, where He will establish His throne in Jerusalem, where the ancient, earthly, political, literal throne of David used to be. And from this throne, He will rule His people Israel and the whole world, forever. His kingdom and rule will have no end, and when He does, every knee will bow in honour and reverence before Him.

Isaiah 9:6-7, ‘For a child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There’ll be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The Zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.’

Philippians 2:9-11, ‘For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’

During His earthly ministry, did the people around Him see Him as a king?  They referred to Him as Lord which is a very honourable title and indicates that they believed He was their Messianic King. “Lord’ is very much in the same vein as ‘Your Highness’ or ‘Your Majesty’.  When King Herod’s servants spoke to him, they may have responded with something like, “Yes my lord.” So referring to Jesus as Lord certainly indicated that His followers believed Him to be their Messianic King because using the word ‘Lord’ presents an attitude of obedience and submission to a dominant authority.

The implications of recognising Jesus as our Messianic King should define us as Christians. Yes, we talk in terms of doctrine and belief and faith and they are extremely important, crucial actually, but the very word Christ demands that we express more than agreement to a creed or systematic belief structure, it means that if Jesus is our Messiah, our King, we must submit to His absolute reign over us, He is our Monarch.

As a human example, how would we behave if we came face to face with Queen Elizabeth II? We would treat her like she’s merely a coffee buddy.

We may have missed this before, but Paul proclaims that salvation comes through the atoning work of Jesus but also that we should honour Him as our Lord…our King.

Romans 10:9, ‘If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord (King, Master, Sovereign), and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you’ll be saved.’

Finally, how does God refer to His Anointed One?

Psalm 2:6-8, “But as for Me (God), I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.”

King David never ruled over the ‘nations’, he only ruled over Israel, therefore, this verse in Psalm 2 must be referring to the future Mashiach, the future King of Israel.

God is going to give His Son, His King, sovereign rule over all the nations! We are His subjects, but what is most staggering of all…our King, our Messiah, loves us.

Next on Foundations we’ll look at what we believe and how we believe.




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