You have certainly heard a lot of times people referring to Jesus as the Messiah, including the biblical authors. The word Messiah has also been used in other situations and other media, like motion pictures, but people usually don’t know the true meaning of this word.
According to the Bible, anointing (which means “ pouring or smearing with oil”) is the act of separating someone or something for a sacred purpose, for God.
But still, why did they call Jesus “the Anointed One”? There were many people in biblical times that were anointed, what was so special about the promised Messiah?
According to the Old Testament, there were three offices of the israelites that required anointing:
- Prophet – a person that brings the words said by God to the people.
- Priest – a mediator between God and people. Specifically in the Old Testament times, the priests were responsible for the sacrifices that allowed sins to be forgiven.
- King – a person that has authority over the entire nation, and he rules it.
The person that God promised to send, who was referred to as “the Anointed One”, was going to be one single person that would take all three offices above, and his “term” was going to be eternal.
So when people talked about the promised Messiah, this is what they were expecting: the ultimate prophet, ultimate priest and ultimate king, all in one, forever. There would be no need to have someone else replace him ever.
And that person was Jesus!
Jesus is our prophet:
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:11)
Jesus said to them, ”A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” (Mark 6:4 - Jesus said those words referring to Himself)
Jesus is our high priest:
For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
… where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:20)
Jesus is our king:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1)
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ”Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Matthew 21:4,5)
Jesus also mentioned the Kingdom of God many times in his speeches. He is the King of that Kingdom.
Jesus is God with us, the only mediator between us and God, and He is our King.
And that’s why we call Him Christ, Messiah, Anointed One.