3.4.6.1 Messiah–Christ–Anointed One

All three terms mean the same: "Messiah" is derived from the Hebrew maschiach, the Latin Christus stems from Greek Christos. In translation this means "the Anointed One".

In some of the Psalms, the kings of Israel are described as "the anointed" [of God] (Psalm 20: 6). Their anointing is closely linked to statements concerning a special covenant of God with David and his successors. The adoration of the king anointed by God sometimes even went so far as to designate him as God (Psalm 45: 6-10).

Based on the statements of the prophets (Isaiah 61; Jeremiah 31: 31 et seq.), there developed among the people of Israel an understanding of the Messiah which increasingly foreshadowed a figure who would transcend all things human, and who would possess divine character in the deepest sense.

It is the unanimous profession of the New Testament that Jesus of Nazareth is this Messiah this Christ. The majestic title "Christ" is so closely linked to Jesus that it has become a proper name: Jesus Christ. Whoever believes in Him professes the Messiah expected by Israel, the bringer of salvation sent by God.

Wherever the New Testament speaks of Jesus, it is referring to the Messiah, namely Christ. This marks a defining difference: while today many people of the Judaic faith still await the arrival of the Messiah, Christians profess that the Messiah has already come, and that He is present in Jesus Christ. This belief is formulated in the powerful statement at the beginning of the gospel of Mark: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (Mark 1: 1).

See also