Matthew Introduction – Part 10: Understanding what it means for Jesus to be the Christ.

Speaker: Scott Jarrett | Feb 21, 2016

6.3. Understanding what it means for Jesus to be the Christ.

The Old Testament is filled with promises of a coming Christ. And the New Testament – most especially her gospels, are devoted to revealing Jesus as their fulfillment. It is therefore impossible to correctly interpret the Bible’s content without first knowing exactly what this term means. More importantly, it is impossible to be a Christian unless one can confess this to be true of Jesus (1Jo 5:1).

As such, a robust study of this subject was no doubt a part of the apostle’s initial preaching – most especially among the Gentiles who possessed no prior knowledge. Likewise, Christians today should be equipped with a proper understanding of what it means for Jesus to be the Christ.

6.3.1. Claiming Jesus to be the Christ is the same as confessing Him to be the Messiah since former is simply the Greek equivalent of the latter Hebrew term.

(Joh 1:41, 4:25)

6.3.2. Jesus claims to be the Christ/Messiah.

(Joh 4:26)

6.3.3. The word itself (Christ/Messiah) literally means “anointed One” and refers to someone who acts on God’s behalf as a mediator between Himself and human beings[1].

(1Ti 2:5; Heb 9:15, 12:24; Gal 3:15-19)

6.3.4. In the Old Testament there are three offices where a person could function as this special anointed mediator: prophet, priest and king. However, they were not roles/careers available to the general public. Rather, such persons had to be directly appointed and authorized by God. Prophet (as it re: to appointment = Jer 1:4-5; as it re: to authority = Jer 1:6-10, 26:1-5; this is what made their murder worse than others—they were the voice of God! This is what would ultimately cause God to divorce Himself from OC Israel and destroy Jerusalem – the murdering of His prophets – most esp. His final Prophet, Jesus – Mat 23:29-38) Priest (as it re: to appointment = Deu 18:5; as it re: to authority = Deu 17:9-11; also Mal 2:1-7 – IOW: the priests have been authorized by God to faithfully taught and see to it that it is followed by His people. Notice they needed to “take it to heart” (2) or God’s curse[2]) King (as it re: to appointment = Deu 17:14; 1Sa 16:1-13; as it re: to authority = Ecc 8:4; true for kings outside Israel as well – Isa 45:1; Rom 13:1-5 w/1Sa 24:6-10, 26:9-23; 2Sa 1:1-16; Psa 105:15)

6.3.5. As such, there were many mediators/messiahs throughout Israel’s history.

“And we have been told also that certain of the themselves [i.e. the Israelites] became, by the act of anointing, Christs in type” – Eusebius

6.3.6. That being said, only one of the three (offices) served the purpose of bringing people into covenant/saving relationship w/God: the priest. As such, any time there has been the possibility of salvation, there has always been a priestly mediator[3].

(Adamic Covenant = Adam – Gen 3:21[4] w/Exo 28:40-41 and Isa 61:10//Noahic Covenant = Noah – Gen 8:20-21 w/Heb 8:3//Abrahamic Covenant = Abraham, – Gen 12:8, 20:7; Isaac – Gen 26:25; Jacob – Gen 35:1 //Old = Moses – Exo 17:15, 20:24-25; Deu 34:10; Aaron and his descendants – Exo 28:1//New = Jesus – Heb 4:14, 5:5-6, 7:20-21).

6.3.7. However, when the mediators/messiahs (most esp. the priests) disobeyed God by refusing to preserve His Law among the people, God brought His curses upon the entire covenant community (incl. the removal of His presence among them).

(e.g. Neh 9:34-37; Eze 22:26-31; Jer 6:13-15, 7:1-15[5])

Closing consideration: The dangerous insanity of:

1) people thinking they can approach God w/o His Mediator Jesus Christ (e.g. praying as a non-Christian – Pro 28:9; believing they don’t need the Church to be saved – Christ’s Body and authority on earth – Joh 20:22-23)

2) pastors (as priestly mediators for Jesus) being unfaithful in their role of preserving God’s Law (Jam 3:1; entire covenant community – Rev 2-3).

[1] Most often, a mediator is required because the parties in question are in opposition to one another. The purpose therefore of such mediation is the construction of a formal agreement/contract that (w/compliance) guarantees peace between the parties (e.g. a peace treaty). This is the reason behind God’s use of a mediator in redemptive history. The Bible calls such peace treaties, “covenants”.

[2] The same is true today. As members of the NC, Christians (most esp. pastors) have been appointed/authorized as God’s priests to “preserve” God’s Law – to see that it is faithfully taught and followed (1Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6; as it re: to pastors see also Tit 2:15; Rev 2-3). Like the priests in Malachi, pastors today are also threatened w/ God’s curse if they are unfaithful (1Co 9:16-17 – Notice, Paul as a pastor is comparing himself to a priest, vv13-14; again Rev 2-3). From an eternal perspective, this warning applies to all Christians (Mat 10:26-33).

[3] Adam’s rebellion in Eden and the subsequent fall of humanity into sin has not only severed the initial relationship we shared with God at Creation (Isa 59:1-2), but also caused us to become His personal enemies and the recipients of His wrath (Psa 5:5; Rom 1:18; Eph 2:3). Hence the need for a priestly mediator: one who can make atonement.

[4] There is no inconsistency in Eve also being clothed in such priestly garments since: 1) Adam or the man is the only one commissioned as a priest prior to this event – Gen 2:15, 18, 2) The biblical record going forward appoints only men as priests, 3) Such garments also represent the justification gained through the death of the animal used to make such garments – Lev 17:11, 14) All covenant members – both male and female are considered priests in the positional sense (contra office) – e.g. Exo 19:6; Rev 1:6. It would however be a mistake to see such garments as simply symbolic of their newly acquired righteous standing since it is clear that through God’s actions, a sacerdotal system was established, requiring a “clothed” priest (Exo 28:42-43).

[5] This was true once more in 70. A.D. when the Temple was again destroyed. This time for the Jews’ rejection/murder of Jesus. According to Jesus’ own prophecy, they now exist in a perpetual state of “messiah” fasting (Luk 5:33-35)