The Christ: More than a Surname in the Biography of Jesus Christ

While looking at a biography of Jesus Christ, Luke’s Gospel, we find the use of the word Christ. What does this title really say about Jesus?

Mom and Dad Christ?

When the angels trumpeted the news of Jesus birth in Luke chapter 2,...

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Him a last name was not what they had in mind.

The title “Christ” was just that, a significant title in Jewish history loaded with meaning. “Christ” was not the last name of Joseph and Mary; as we read it in the english it points back through the Greek (Christos) to the Hebrew word Messiah (Mashiach).

Messiah literally means “anointed one” and points directly back to the prototypical ideal Jewish annointed one, King David. This is essential in understanding a biography of Jesus Christ, his life and what it mean.t

Buckets of Oil

The Hebrew Kings were inaugurated with the practice of dumping a large jar or horn of olive oil over the head. It symbolized the outpouring of God’s authority, power, and spirit to accomplish the job of leading God’s people. A grand moment:

Now the LORD said to Samuel...Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.... So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem...And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” So he sent and brought him in....And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah...

Every king from that moment in Jewish history was compared to David (especially his grand heart that desired God desires above all). Yet he would not be the greatest, for another King would arise that would reign forever on David’s throne. The Lord told David:

“When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever...Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever...”

Another David?

This same promise about Jesus Christ is extended in a prophecy by Ezekiel

”My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them...and David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

Although David is dead and gone by this point, the prophecy calls the great expected King “David” in deliberate allusion to the promised made to David himself that an heir would reign on his throne forever.

Promises, Promises

That is hardly all. About the Messiah who would come, whom we now know as Jesus Christ, the prophet Isaiah says

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them....

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, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will 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.


Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist... Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.

The “shoot from the stump of Jesse” is an allusion to the child of Jesse, who was David’s father. He will possess a full measure of the Spirit and will act righteously and on behalf of the poor and oppressed. He will also be a king in the world not just for the Jews, but for all nations as the “resort to the root of Jesse” That is why we know Him now as "Jesus Christ"

Declaration of the Christ

Later in Luke, When Peter is asked by Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” he replies

“The Christ of God.”

The Messiah of God. The Annointed one. The One promised to rule on the throne of David forever and ever with justice, peace, and righteousness. Notice the definite article, “the.” The Christ. The hoped-for Messiah of the Hebrew Bible. Jesus Christ.

Preaching the Christ

So when Peter preaches his magnificent Pentecost day sermon he proclaims Jesus as “the Christ...” in his mini-biography of Jesus Christ

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power...“Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE..he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

God has made this crucfied and risen Jesus of Nazareth the Christ. The annointed King who rules and reigns and whose power is breaking forth as the kingdom of God in the world. He is your Creator...

Is He your Christ,

your Messiah,

your King?

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