TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate Edition

I.  The Messiah’s Identity

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Chapter 11  Part I

The Messiah’s Identity

The OT Scriptures speak of a leader chosen and sent by God to save his people and to reign forever. This leader is known as the “Christ” or the “Messiah” – which are Greek and Hebrew terms respectively, meaning the “anointed” or the “Anointed One”. In NT times the Jews looked forward to the Messiah’s coming and many still do today. But the NT provides compelling evidence that this Messiah was in fact Jesus Christ.

The Promise of a Messiah in OT Scripture

The OT Scriptures speak of a coming anointed one of God

[The archangel Gabriel, to Daniel:] So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks.   Daniel 9:25a  NET

Regarding the “weeks”, many scholars understand the term to denote seven years.

The anointed one would have God’s Spirit on him

[The Messiah:] The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; 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; …   Isaiah 61:1  ESV

These words are prophetically attributed to the Messiah.

The Scriptures speak of the coming of a great ruler of Israel

[God:] As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, seemingly insignificant among the clans of Judah – from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, one whose origins are in the distant past.   Micah 5:2  NET

The ruler would bring salvation to the nations

[God, to the Messiah:] I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.   Isaiah 49:6b  ESV

The ruler would be a descendant of King David, in accordance with God’s promise to David

The Lord swore an oath to David. This is a truth he will not take back: “I will set one of your own descendants on your throne.17There I will make a horn sprout up for David. I will prepare a lamp for my anointed one. 18I will clothe his enemies with shame, but the crown on my anointed one will shine.”   Psalms 132:11, 17-18  GW

The “horn” and “lamp” (v. 17) speak of the strength and continuation of David’s dynasty, and would be embodied by the Messiah.

Prophecy of the Messiah’s Death for Sins

The OT Scriptures say the Messiah would suffer and die, for people’s sins – but then be raised and exalted

He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds. 6We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way, and the Lord has laid all our sins on him.   Isaiah 53:5-6  GW

But it was the Lord who decided to crush him and make him suffer. The Lord made his life a penalty offering, but he will still see his descendants and live a long life. He will complete the things the Lord wants him to do. 11“After his soul suffers many things, he will see life and be satisfied. My good servant will make many people right with God; he will carry away their sins. 12For this reason I [God] will make him a great man among people, and he will share in all things with those who are strong. He willingly gave his life and was treated like a criminal. But he carried away the sins of many people and asked forgiveness for those who sinned.”   Isaiah 53:10-12  NCV™

These verses speak of God raising his messianic servant to life, following his death. The term “his descendants” (v. 10b) refers to the messianic servant’s spiritual descendants – those who would be given life through him. Note that Isaiah 52:13-53:12 has been called “the gospel in the OT” and is quoted in the NT more than any other OT passage.

Jesus Is the Promised Messiah

In his first coming, Jesus Christ did not come as an all-conquering ruler. The NT indicates that this aspect of messianic prophecy will be fulfilled on Christ’s second coming.

Jesus Christ is the one chosen by God

[God:] “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him!”   Luke 9:35b  NET

Jesus Christ is the one anointed by God, with the Holy Spirit . . .

[Peter:] You know that God anointed Jesus from Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.   Acts 10:38a  GW

The descending of the Holy Spirit onto Jesus at his baptism (cf. Matthew 3:16-17) was God’s anointing of Jesus for his mission. It is also understood to mark Jesus as the Messiah – the “Anointed One” – and fulfilled OT prophecies that God would bestow his Spirit on the Messiah (cf. Isaiah 11:2; 42:1; 61:1).

. . . Jesus is the Messiah

[Peter, to a crowd of largely Jews:] Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 20so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you – that is, Jesus.   Acts 3:19-20  NET

The OT Scriptures testify to Jesus being the Messiah, the Christ

For with his strong arguments he [Apollos] defeated the Jews in public debates by proving from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah.   Acts 18:28  GNT

For the OT Scriptures speak of the sufferings and resurrection of the Christ as fulfilled in Jesus . . .

Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue, as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, 3explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”   Acts 17:2-3  NET

. . . and they speak of the messianic salvation that would come through Jesus Christ

[Zechariah, speaking of what God had done:] He has raised up a mighty Savior for us in the family of his servant David. 70He made this promise through his holy prophets long ago.   Luke 1:69-70  GW

About him [Christ] all the prophets testify, that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.   Acts 10:43  NET

Luke 1:69-70 (above) refers to the messianic salvation prophesied in the writings of the prophets (v. 70) as coming through Jesus, who was from the family line of David (v. 69). Acts 10:43 (immediately above) states that the prophets testify that the forgiveness of sins, a key aspect of this salvation, comes through Jesus Christ.

Further Testimony to Jesus Being the Messiah

Jesus’ deeds showed that he is the Messiah, the Christ

Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.   John 20:30-31  NET

People acknowledged him as the Christ

The crowds that went ahead of him [Jesus] and those following kept shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”   Matthew 21:9  NET

The crowd was acknowledging Jesus as the Christ, referring to him with messianic expressions in declaring him “the Son of David” and the one “who comes in the name of the Lord”.

Note: The Christ is understood to be the Son of God

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”   Matthew 16:16  NET

The understanding that the Christ would be the Son of God appears to be largely based on OT messianic passages where God speaks of the Messiah as his Son (cf. 2 Samuel 7:11b-14a; Psalms 2:6-7; 89:27).

Pray for persecuted Christians