What does 'Christ' mean?

"Christ" comes from the Greek word Christos which means "anointed one" or "chosen one." The Hebrew equivalent to "Christ" is Mashiach, or "Messiah." Jesus had many names that brought glory to His identity as Son of God. "Jesus" is His human name, which was given to Mary by Gabriel (Luke 1:31). "Christ" is the title that was given to Him to signify His identity as King and Deliverer (Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1). His human name and title placed together (Jesus Christ) mean "Jesus the Messiah" or "Jesus the Anointed One."

The literal definition of "anointed" refers to the application of oil, although it also refers to one's consecration by God (Hebrews 1:9). The process of anointing is a symbolic act to indicate God's choosing (e.g., 1 Samuel 24:6). Kings and prophets were anointed as a way of setting them apart as chosen by God. This came from the tradition in ancient Israel of pouring oil on the head of someone who was given authority (e.g., 1 Samuel 10:1).

The Old Testament is full of prophetic passages that refer to a Messiah who would deliver His people (e.g., Isaiah 61:1; Daniel 9:26). Ancient Israel waited anxiously for their Messiah to come with great strength and a great army to save them from years of oppression. Jesus Christ is revealed in the New Testament to be the Messiah who offered something far better—deliverance from sin and God's righteous wrath (Luke 4:18; Romans 6:23).

Jesus was also literally anointed with oil on two separate occasions, giving even more weight to the meaning of His title, "Christ" (Matthew 26:6–7; Luke 7:37–38). The most significant anointing in His life was from the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38). The title "Christ" means that Jesus was chosen to deliver God's people. It means that He is the One who fulfills the Old Testament prophecies, and He is God's Anointed One. The title "Christ" dignifies Jesus' time on earth as the King of kings and Savior. He came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and will one day return to establish His kingdom on earth (Zechariah 14:9).


Related Truth:

Who is Jesus Christ?

What are the names of Jesus Christ? What titles are ascribed to Jesus in the Bible?

What does it mean that Jesus is the Word of God? What are John 1:1, 14 talking about?

How is Jesus the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?

What does it mean that Jesus is our Sabbath rest?


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