Week 3: December 12-18
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet made this question famous. Most of us are familiar with the scene where Juliet cries out, “Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.” A few lines later, Juliet asks, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
When it comes to Jesus, the answer to “What’s in a name” has many answers, for there is not one name that can contain all of who he is. One of the names of Jesus is “Messiah.” Messiah is the Hebrew word for someone anointed for a specific task (Christ is the Greek translation of this word).
We often see the name Jesus Christ and think Christ refers to his last name. Instead, Christ is a title (like calling someone a teacher or a doctor) that also means “Messiah.” So when we say “Jesus Christ,” we are describing his identity: “He is Jesus the Messiah.”
The term "messiah" is the transliteration of the Hebrew word masiah, which means “to anoint.” The term is used in the Old Testament for kings and priests who were consecrated to office by the ceremony of anointing. It is applied to the priest only as an adjective – “the anointed priest.”
When we come to the New Testament, John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Messiah, saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). John later records that Jesus was anointed by the Spirit when he was baptized. Jesus proclaimed himself as the Messiah in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-22) and at Jacob's well to the Samaritan woman (John 4:24-25).
Jesus, as the anointed one, was the one who was sent into this world to come and save the people from their sins. He was the coming Savior, for whom the people had been waiting for generations to bring about God’s promised deliverance. What’s in a name? Simply, the whole gospel message, a message of great joy for all people.
Read Luke 24:44-47
 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ (Messiah) should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
After his resurrection, Jesus spends time with disciples and explains all of Scripture is about how the Messiah should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all the nations. All of Scripture is about the Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed one who will save his people. All of Scripture is about Jesus. Have you read your Bible with this in mind lately? Perhaps you will start a new Bible reading plan in the New Year. Remember to read every part of the Bible with Jesus the Messiah in mind.
Lord Jesus, we welcome you this Christmas day! You are the anointed one, the God who lives with us, the one who saves. As we praise and worship you this day, fill us with your presence and your love. And help us to reach out to a world aching to hear your message of good news.