Christ the King; Messiah the King

When you hear the name Jesus Christ you are hearing a name and a title, not a first and last name.  His name is Jesus.  This is the name His earthly parents gave Him when He was born.  They did not think of this name themselves; it had been provided by an angel.

Christ, on the other hand, is not a personal name or a surname, but rather a title.  In the Old Testament this title was rendered as “Messiah.”  In the New Testament it is rendered as Christ.  The meaning is the same.  The difference is due to the fact that Hebrew was the original language of the Old Testament while Greek is the language of the New Testament.  Both words have the same meaning: “Anointed.”

We are used to thinking of a king as being “crowned,” but in ancient Israel they were anointed with oil.  The oil was of practical benefit in the climate of Israel, but the symbolism was of God’s presence through His Holy Spirit which would guide the king in all his decisions.

Therefore, whether you hear the term Christ or Messiah you should think “king.”  The next concept this should bring to your mind, at least as far as your response is concerned, is “obedience.”  Jesus was sent to us not merely to be acknowledged and admired, as appropriate and useful as those responses are.  He was also sent to be obeyed.  If you think of or say His title without thinking of His right to your obedience, you have missed the point of the title.

Do you know what He wants you to do?  Ask Him and He will tell you in your heart.  Here’s a starting point: He will want you to love Him above all, and your neighbor as yourself.

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