The Name: Christ the Messiah (Luke 2:8-11)
The Name: Christ the Messiah (Luke 2:8-11)
What? The name of our Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, has power. Phil. 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth—11 and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Power: At the name of Christ one day every knee will bow. What about you?
The name of our Savior has influence. Even a secularized pagan world recognizes that Jesus Christ, spoken on a person's lips, carries significant weight. So, those who don’t even believe in Christ as Messiah think that on their worst day or in their frustration, Jesus Christ means something. Even in the world’s cursing—the name of Jesus Christ brings light and has influence. Read Luke 2:11.
Is Christ, Jesus’ last name? Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah (Christos) the Lord. Christ was the Greek rendering of the OT word māšı̂aḥ, anointed. Said another way, today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the anointed one.
We often take for granted that we know what Luke means because we know the rest of the story. However, for the original audience, Jesus Christ was an unusual rendering. Think like a Greek speaker for a moment. The word Christ is often associated with anointing or smearing someone with oil. In essence, the angel announced the birth in this way, “Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you who is the smeared- one.”
Luke wasn’t describing the physical smearing of oil and wasn’t giving you Jesus’ official legal surname. The angels were introducing a child that was unlike any child that had ever been born.
The terms Christ and Messiah are interchangeable. To call Jesus Messiah is to say He is the Christ. To call Jesus Christ is to say that Jesus is the Messiah.
So let’s go back several years before the angelic birth announcement. The Scriptures of Jesus were the Old Testament. But, unfortunately, “Messiah” as a technical term in the OT does not occur.
Fortunately, you will find many people in the Scriptures who were “messiah-ed” or anointed. You see, not any person would be anointed with oil. This sacred act belonged to a select group of people. The first are men like Saul, David, Absalom, Solomon, and even Jehu.
2 Sam 2:4 Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. Kings were anointed.
When you hear of Jesus called the Messiah, you should not be surprised to know that Rev. 19:16And he has a name written on his robe and on his thigh: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Kings were the anointed of the Lord.
Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the King of Kings!
There is one other group that received the “messiah-ed” treatment in the First Testament. Leviticus tells us that they poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed and consecrated him. If the king received the throne-seat blessing of anointing, the High Priest received the sacred favor of the anointing. Do not be surprised when you hear Hebrews declare; Heb 3:1 consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession.
Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is your Holy Priest!
That’s a lot of truth in such a little word, isn’t it? And you thought Christ was just a last name. When someone was anointed, the oil represented a cherished special relationship between Yahweh and the one anointed.
Aaron, the priest, had a special relationship because the priest was an intermediary between God and man. If you wanted to be near the Lord, be near the priest and the temple.
The king had a special relationship because he presented the authority of Yahweh on the throne and among the covenant community. Did you want God’s leadership? Look to the king.
Luke 2:11 Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. Behold your King; Behold your High Priest.
So What? I doubt the shepherds would have dared to ask this question to their heavenly visitorbecause the angel’s declaration was crystal clear.
Notice that the celestial being did not say, “a Savior was born for you, who is a Messiah.” No, heaven made clear that this was THE (lack of indefinite article) Christ. So the shepherds heard right; there is only one Messiah, Jesus born in Bethlehem! But, how does Jesus THE Christ change your life?
Why do you need a perfect king? Yahweh’s people waited for over nine hundred years for the Lord to keep his promise that one day 2 Sam 7:13 He is the one who will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
Israel longed for the day when a man would again sit on the throne and establish a powerful political dynasty. But, unfortunately, they didn’t realize that the Lord had a greater kingdom and an eternal plan.
The coming of the Messiah was a visible reminder that God’s kingdom had come. Jesus is God incarnate, Yahweh made visible.
Have you ever wondered when God would restore his kingdom? When was the last time you looked around and asked, “God come quickly!” Jesus’ immaculate birth ushered in a new kingdom, a kingdom that you can participate in by faith. And for all who believe in the name of Jesus, you are ambassadors of a better kingdom to a world under siege.
The more war-torn your world, the more beautiful His kingdom becomes. This Messiah would soon shed his own blood to save all who accept his free gift of amnesty and come over to his side. Why? You are at war. This kingdom saves sinners!
Why do you need a perfect priest? If the world of kings and kingdoms seems ancient, the domain of priests and temples feels equally distant. What if I told you that you were never allowed to approach God, you could only approach the priest who would go to the Lord on your behalf.
God is so holy that sinful man needs an intermediary. You see, when you approach the radiant throne of Yahweh on your own, in your unclean state, you will receive complete deserved judgment.
But God is a being infinitely lovely because He hath infinite excellence and beauty… So that sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving infinite punishment –Edwards
On your own, as you sit today, you could never go into the presence of the Lord. You could never receive mercy, and you would never find grace. Even if these were available, you could not receive them on your own.
Why do you need a High Priest? But in Jesus the Messiah, you can approach the throne of God with boldness so that you may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need. You don’t have to approach to priest, you can approach God himself because Jesus is God!
Luke 2:11 Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. It’s fascinating that this birth announcement is not directed to the parents of Jesus but the shepherds. You and I have a lot in common with these shepherds. First, they were not family (not even 2nd cousins). Second, they didn’t exactly have the best reputation. Call them, if you will, double outsiders. With the announcement that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, had come, God redefined what his community looked like.
Even outsiders, outcasts, and the oppressed be part of the new family through Jesus because He is the Messiah.
Now What? The shepherds never asked the ,”so what,” but the Gospel of John fills in the blanks:
John 20:31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name.
John was written when confession of Jesus as the Messiah was a lasting point of division between Jews who believed in Jesus and Jews who did not. And all these years later, the name of Christ still acts as the diving line of belief and eternal life.
Now What? At its core, Christmas (Mass of Christ) is belief and eternal life. The word "Mass" comes from the Latin word, " Missa." At one time, the people were dismissed with the words " Ite, missa est," meaning "Go, you are sent.”
Luke 2:11 Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the anointed King, the Lord. His kingdom has come, and His will be done! Go and do!
Luke 2:11 Today in the city of David, a Savior was born for you, who is the anointed High Priest, the Lord. God sent his Son that you may come. You can approach this throne with boldness and receive merciful grace in your time of need! Believe and have life in his name.