In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Recently we’ve learnt about the covenant of grace by which God forgives sin and grants eternal life through the mediator Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully human. But why was the mediator called ‘Christ?
The name ‘Christ’ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word ‘Messiah’.
A Messiah is someone who is anointed with oil for a particular office of God.
The office of priest was an anointed office. Moses was told by God: ‘Make tunics, sashes and headbands for Aaron’s sons, to give them dignity and honor. After you put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons, anoint and ordain them. Consecrate them so they may serve me as priests’ (Exodus 28:40-41).
Also, kings and prophets were anointed offices. Elijah is told by God to anoint both a king and a prophet: ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet’ (1 Kings 19:15-16).
And a famous example of an anointed king is David: ‘So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah’ (1 Samuel 16:13).
So Jesus bears the title Christ as he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. Peter says: ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power’ (Acts 10:38).
What office did God anoint Jesus to do?
God anointed Jesus not just for one office, but all three anointed offices. As we will see in subsequent weeks, Jesus is a priest, a prophet and a king.
So have you trusted in the one who is named ‘the Christ/Messiah’ and so have been saved from your sin?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.