“When he [King Herod] had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born” (Matthew 2:4).
“Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew term Messiah, which means “the Anointed One.” In Old Testament times, anointing signified being set aside for service, particularly as a king or priest. Jesus came not as an anointed one but as the Anointed One, both King and Priest, set apart not by any man but by God Himself.
When John the Baptist appeared on the scene, his contemporaries were attracted to his fierce preaching and rugged appearance. Many were convinced he was the Messiah, but he repeatedly told them he was only the forerunner, and called the people to repent in preparation for the Messiah’s arrival. The scene was set, and many waited with bated breath to meet the One who would deliver them from all their enemies.
Except Jesus wasn’t what they expected. The Jews wanted a military leader who would liberate them from Roman oppression—but Jesus was meek and quiet in spirit. They wanted an established leader, one the rulers of the world would listen to and respect—but Jesus was born in questionable circumstances and possessed no earthly valuables. They wanted a poster child for Jewish superiority—but Jesus hung out with outcasts and upended cultural norms.
Jesus was God’s answer to Israel’s prayers; He was the Messiah, but they rejected Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:11-12). So gratefully we celebrate Him as the Christ, the Anointed One not just for Israel, but for all humankind who believe in Him.
Have you tried to fit Jesus into your idea of who He should be or how He should act? Take time to read through the Gospels. Reacquaint yourself with Jesus. Marvel at His miracles. Chuckle at His witty responses to the Pharisees’ snide remarks. Weep as His people reject Him and He walks toward Golgotha. Rejoice as the stone is rolled away and the tomb is found empty. Go beyond surface familiarity with the accounts and engage with the Anointed One as He is revealed in the pages of Scripture.
—Condensed from Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu.