Bible Society of South Africa

He is the Christ – 21 September 2020

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16GNBOpen in Bible reader

The text above is probably the shortest but most powerful confession of faith ever. When Jesus and his followers were near Caesarea Philippi he asked them, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” The answers from his followers were vastly different. From John the Baptist to Elijah and some others. But as they were all wrong, he repeated the question but with an important difference: “’What about you?’ he asked them. ‘Who do you say I am?’”

The Father gave Peter the answer, and his declaration contained the complete content of the Gospel about Jesus. As we have already focused on why Jesus is called the Son of God on Friday, we will now look at the meaning of “Messiah”.

Christ is the Greek form of the word “Messiah” and we translate it as the Anointed One. In the Jewish tradition, every priest, prophet and king were anointed with oil to prepare them for their specific calling. Although we find the concept of a messiah in the Old Testament, in most cases it refers to one of the kings or prophets of Israel, although in some instances, there is a reference to a figure that will appear in the future. We find this in the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and especially in the time of the second temple, that is, after the great exile.

The real expectation of a coming Messiah comes much later in the Jewish tradition and although little is said in the Bible about it, we find it in Jewish literature of the time. Sadly, this expectation of a messiah was often political by nature. During the oppressive rule of Antiochus Epiphanes, and during the Roman occupation, the expectation increased, but when the real Messiah showed up, He was not what they had hoped for.

For the world, however, this anointed Priest/Prophet/King was exactly what was needed. Not someone to found another worldly kingdom, but someone to bring the sacrifice as High Priest, and to be the sacrificial Lamb as well. Someone to be the prophet who brought the message of God’s redemption to everyone and Someone to rule as King over everything.
The only question left is: Who is Jesus to You?

Prayer: Lord, please help me to not only proclaim you as the Christ with my mouth every day, but to show by what I do that you are my Priest, Prophet and King. Amen

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