The Messiah - Who is it?
The Hebrew word "The Messiah" when translated into English becomes "the anointed One" and is often used interchangeably in English Bibles with the name "Christ." For centuries, the Jewish people have anticipated the coming of the Messiah, the "One who would restore the fortunes of Israel, liberating the nation from foreign oppression and extending His rule over Gentile nations."1
In the New Testament we discover more about Jewish people's expectations for the Messiah. They were eagerly anticipating someone who would perform many signs (John 7:31) and rule their nation forever (John 12:34). They were looking for the Messiah to come from Bethlehem (John 7:42) and be a political leader who was called to defeat the Romans.
Did Jesus ever say He is the long-awaited Messiah? In John 4:25-26, Jesus is speaking with a woman from Samaria. "The woman said, 'I know that Messiah' (called Christ) 'is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.' Then Jesus declared, 'I who speak to you am he.'"
During a trial before His crucifixion, Jesus implied that He is the Messiah: Matthew 26:62-64 says, "Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, 'Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?' But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, 'I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied. 'But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"
Jesus also discussed topic of Messiah with Peter in Matthew 16:16-18: "Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.'"
However, Jesus the Messiah warned His disciples not to share this information publicly in Mark 8:28-30: "They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.' 'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?' Peter answered, 'You are the Christ.' Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him."
Why didn't Jesus openly proclaim His status as Messiah more clearly? The people were expecting a political Messiah and His kingdom is spiritual and not political. Jesus knew that the Messiah was to be the suffering servant who is prophesied in Isaiah 52 and 53. The Jewish people did not understand that and would not accept the concept of a crucified Messiah.
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