What Is a Messiah? Meaning and Significance
Listen to the audio below of Dr. Doug Bookman answering the question,
Was Jesus the Messiah?
According to the Baker's Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament writers, evangelists, and apostles give no reason to doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, or in New Testament language, the Christ. He came, born of Abrahamic and Davidic lineage ( Matt 1:2-16 ; Luke 2:4-15 ). John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah by referring to the wider dimension: "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" ( John 1:29 ). Jesus was the One who would bring judgment as well as life by the Spirit of God ( Matt 3:1-12 ). The evangelists record that Jesus was anointed by the Spirit when he was baptized. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Messiah in Nazareth ( Luke 4:16-22 ) and at Jacob's well to the Samaritan woman ( John 4:24-25 ).
When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” they replied, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” But Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:13-16).
What Set Jesus Apart as the Messiah?
- His birth: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born, as prophesied, in Bethlehem to a virgin. Though angels announced His arrival and He reigns over all creation, Jesus entered our world in a lowly manner so He could be identified with the meek and the poor.
- His wisdom: At age 12, He spent three days with rabbis, asking questions that showed his uncommon understanding.
- His baptism: Though He didn’t need cleansing, Jesus asked John to baptize Him so He could identify with sinners and demonstrate His love to them.
- His temptation: Satan tempted Him relentlessly for 40 days, yet He did not sin.
- His ministry: He challenged man-made religious traditions. And by healing people—regardless of nationality—raising the dead, and forgiving sins, He revealed that God wants to be involved personally in our lives. Leading Pharisees wanted Him dead, but the Father protected His life until the crucifixion.
Many people deny Christ’s deity, calling Him simply a “prophet” or “good teacher.” But Jesus was never merely human. As complex as it is for us to comprehend, He was fully God and fully man, Jesus was and is the Messiah. This is the unique way in which our heavenly Father chose to demonstrate His eternal love for us.
Taken from “The Uniqueness of Christ” by In Touch Ministries (used by permission).