Jesus: the Christ (Advent 1)

The following was written for a devotional guide for CityView Church for Advent 2009…

Reading:
Matthew 1:1-17 and John 4:25, 11:27

Throughout the New Testament one of the most common names for Jesus is the “Christ” which is a Greek word meaning ‘anointed one.’  This title is full of meaning from the Old Testament (the Hebrew word is ‘Messiah’ which is translated in our English Bible as ‘savior’) and communicates much about the nature and character of Jesus.  The Christ or Messiah figure from the Old Testament is one who was prophesied to deliver God’s people from oppression and slavery.  We can see from specific prophecies that he was supposed to restore the Kingdom of David (Jeremiah 23:5, 30:9; Ezekiel 34:23), restore the Temple (Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1; Zechariah 6:13; Ezekiel 37:26-28), regather his people – the exiled Jews (described in Isaiah 11:12 and 43:5-6), and usher in world peace (Isaiah 2:4) among many others.

One of the reasons that the New Testament writers saw such significance in using Christ to talk about Jesus is that he fulfills all of the prophecies perfectly and delivers us from our slavery to sin.  As the King of kings Jesus reigns as the perfect, sovereign, everlasting ruler that no earthly king could be.  As our High Priest Jesus also restores and enables right spiritual worship of God (the book of Hebrews goes in-depth on this idea), brings us peace with God, and gathers us together in gospel-centered community (the Church).  There are so many other things that we could learn about this title for Jesus, but the most incredible thing is that this Christ who came to save humanity and reconcile us to God came not in his full glory (like we see in Revelation 19:11-16), but rather in human form as a baby boy.

As God in the flesh, Jesus reveals to us more about God than anything else in all of history could (see Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1), and he accomplishes more than we could ever dream.  He has fulfilled God’s promises of deliverance, broken the dominion of sin in the hearts and lives of Christians, given his people a reason to hope in the living God, brought new life into sinners who were dead in sin, and guaranteed that those who put their faith in him and live their lives in obedience to his Word will never taste death.  So when we see this unique title for Jesus as the Christ, we should be mindful of the immense significance that Jesus has in human history and God’s redemption story.

Questions:
•    Where in the Bible can you see God as the one who delivers Israel from a bad situation?  What does this tell us about how Jesus delivers us?
•    What has Jesus freed or delivered you from?  What has Jesus restored in your life?
•    What does Jesus’ life and character tell us about God?  How does that fit with what God tells us about himself in Exodus 34:5-7?

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