What does Messiah mean?

Messiah means "anointed one" or "chosen one," and it comes from the Hebrew word mashiach. The word Christos, translated in English as Christ, is its Greek equivalent. Therefore, "Jesus the Messiah" and "Jesus Christ" are the same.

Culturally, during biblical days, anointing someone with oil signified that they were being set apart and consecrated for a particular role. Throughout the Old Testament, people who were about to assume positions of power were anointed. These include the positions of priest, prophet, and king. Aaron was anointed as high priest of Israel (Leviticus 8:12). Per God's instruction, the prophet Elijah anointed Elisha to succeed him as the prophet of Israel (1 Kings 19:16). Both Saul and David were anointed as kings of Israel by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13). While these men were in "anointed" positions, the Old Testament predicted a Deliverer from God who would redeem the nation of Israel (Isaiah 42:1; 61:1–3). The Jews called this Deliverer the Messiah.

Jesus was priest, prophet, and king in one person, which serves to showcase Him as the Messiah. As a priest, His death provided full redemption for our sins and reconciliation to God the Father (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14). As a prophet, He not only preached but also embodied the Word of God (John 1:1–18; 14:24; Luke 24:19). Jesus is King because God gave all authority to Him (John 18:36; Ephesians 1:20–23; Revelation 19:16).

Throughout Jesus of Nazareth's earthly ministry, it became evident that He was (and still is) the Messiah who was prophesied about in the Old Testament (Luke 4:17–21; John 4:25–26). The gospels proclaim that Jesus is the Chosen One, the Messiah (Matthew 16:16; John 20:31). Jesus' resurrection from the dead is the primary evidence of Him being the Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:3–8, 14–22). Acts 10:39–43 is an eyewitness account of Jesus' death and resurrection.

The Jews who were alive during Jesus' ministry anticipated that their Messiah would be a political leader who would redeem them from Roman rule and set up an earthly kingdom (Acts 1:6). After His resurrection, Jesus provided understanding to His disciples of what the Old Testament prophecies and His death and resurrection had really been about—forgiveness of sins (Luke 24:45–48). Jesus, the Messiah, was anointed for the primary purpose of delivering His people spiritually, offering them redemption from their sins (John 3:16; John 8:31–36). He accomplished this salvation through His death and resurrection (Matthew 26:28; John 12:32). Jesus the Messiah promised that He will return to earth again, and when that day comes He will deliver His people from their physical enemies and set up His kingdom on the earth (John 14:3; Matthew 24:42; Isaiah 9:1–7).

Related Truth:

What does 'Christ' mean?

Is Jesus the Messiah?

Where is the death and resurrection of Messiah prophesied in Hebrew Scriptures?

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

Who is Jesus Christ?

Return to:
Truth about Jesus Christ

Subscribe to the CompellingTruth.org Newsletter:

Preferred Bible Version:

CompellingTruth.org is a ministry of