Whether you like yours or not, your name has significance. There is a reason your name is what it is. The reason may be silly, or dumb in your opinion, but the fact is there was reason behind picking that name for you.
My middle name was picked in honor of my great-grandpa. Parts of my children’s names were chosen because of the connection to family, or my wife and mine’s personal feelings about the names.
Our name has meaning. It identifies who we are. And our last name ties us to our family and it’s past.
Jesus was no different. While the use of last names as we know them today was not common in Ancient Jewish culture, Jesus would have probably been referred to as Jesus son of Joseph. So why do we see Him often called Jesus Christ?
It’s a reference that looks strangely like our modern day name structure. It would be easy to think that it’s a typical first-last name thing. And while yes, we often use the two names together, Christ is not Jesus’ last name.
No, the name Christ has much greater significance than a last name holds.
Christ was not just a name to identify Jesus. It was a title, a recognition of rank and role. To really understand the significance of this though, you have to understand the history of the word. The word Christ we find today in Scripture is the English translation of Christŏs, which is a transliteration of the Greek Χριστός. All this to say, we are only half way there.
The Greek Christŏs is defined as anointed, messiah. It is a word built upon another (chriō) meaning to smear or rub with oil, to consecrate. The Ancient Hebrew’s idea of a Messiah was very similar, and it is from the Hebrew Mâshîyach that our Greek Christŏs is rendered from. This Hebrew word, transliterated from משׁיח, is our English word Messiah.
For the Hebrew, the adjective mashiach (anointed) was primarily a title associated to a king. Defined as anointed, a consecrated person, they were viewed as the representative before the people for God. Jump back to Jesus, and the title Christ now has such deeper significance!
Jesus was the Christ. He was the Messiah, the anointed and consecrated One. Set apart to fulfill the mission of Salvation, by first leaving His heavenly throne to be born in flesh.
Walk this earth.
Die in my place on a cross.
This is who and why we celebrate at Christmas. The beginning of what is the most pivotal life and mission in eternity. The birth of Jesus Christ. The true Messiah, born so He could die for you.
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