Jesus is called Messiah in the New Testament on several occasions. The Gospel identifies Jesus as the Messiah and even as the son of God. Therefore, Christians believe Messiah is Jesus, the son of God who disguised himself as a human to save believers from sins.
In Matthew 15:24, Jesus declared, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The people of Israel asked Him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus replied, ‘I am.’ Despite this interaction, the religious leaders of that time didn’t believe His words or accept him as Messiah.
Is Jesus the Messiah?
According to the Hebrew prophets, Messiah is from the descendants of David who would rescue Israel from her oppressors. Christians believe Jesus is Messiah, the anointed one! The word “Christ” derives from the Greek word “Messiah.” They reckon it as a title, rather than a surname.
In the New Testament, affirmations of Jesus being Messiah are found in the Acts of the Apostles and the four Gospel narratives. In the Gospels, many people identify Jesus as Messiah. Even Jesus himself claims this perception:
- When Jesus stands trial before the Jewish high court, the high priest asks him if he is “the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” and Jesus replies, “I am.” (Mk 14:61-62)
- When Jesus asks his disciples who they think he is, Peter answers, “You are the Christ.” (Luke 9:20)
- After meeting Jesus, Andrew runs to tell Peter that he has found the Messiah (Jn 1:41).
In Acts, one of the primary messages of the apostles is that Jesus is the Messiah:
- “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen – that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his people and the Gentiles.” (Ac 26:22-23)
- “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and one three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’ he said.” (Ac 15:2-3)
- “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they [the apostles] never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Ac 5:52)
Reasons for Jesus as Messiah (Christian Perspective)
1. Jesus is the Messiah because he was born of a virgin.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet. “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.” – Matthew 1:22-23.
2. Jesus is the Messiah because he was born in Bethlehem.
“When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ – Matthew 2:4-6 (NIV)
3. Jesus is the Messiah because he was from the line of David.
“He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat… the son of Mattathias, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz… the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” – Luke 3:23-38
4. Jesus is the Messiah because he was a Suffering Servant.
Christians argue that the suffering of Jesus, in which he was rejected, disbelieved, beaten, and crucified, fulfills the prophecies in Isaiah 52-53. This belief is indicated in the Bible, John 12:37-38.
5. Jesus is the Messiah because he is God.
“For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
Jewish Argument about Jesus being Messiah
Messiah is the title given to a person believed to bring salvation to mankind. The term is used in both Judaism and Christianity but differs in perspective. Jews don’t regard Jesus as a divine being, rather a founder or teacher of Christianity. They see him not as a savior but as a preacher. They also argue how the Bible doesn’t specifically say that Jesus would be born to a virgin and that God planting a seed in a woman is an unnatural idea.
For the Jewish people, Messiah is a significant figure with the characteristics of a king or a priest. They believe Messiah will change the world order according to God’s will.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:6-9.
Our Final Thoughts
Christians believe the Bible confirms Jesus as Messiah. He is the chosen one who was sent to serve according to God’s will. Although Jesus never claimed to be Messiah, the Gospel suggests that he was!