HE WAS CALLED JESUS CHRIST, the CHRIST, MESSIAH/MESSIAS:
I will deal with these three names together – “Jesus Christ,” “the Christ,” and “Messiah/Messias.” Jesus was an “earthly” name given by Joseph in accordance with the angel’s message.
Christ is a title given to Jesus. It is the Greek form of the word Messiah, which means The Anointed One. Throughout the Old Testament the people were promised that a Deliverer would come. He would be anointed (at least figuratively) to fill the positions of prophet, priest, and king. John Chapter 4 Jesus told the Samaritan woman that He was the Messiah. Many of Jesus’ followers expected him to do what they expected the Messiah to do – be their Deliverer; be their earthly King!
Jesus’ words in Matthew 16, “who do you say that I am” is as applicable today as it was when they were spoken to Peter. Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Peter may have still had some questions, but I can almost hear the resignation in his voice as he submits to a new recognition of Jesus. He was much more than a miracle worker, a leader who could again set the Jews free from the bondages of the Romans.
I believe Peter submits in faith. No matter what his eyes could see, here stood the Son of God. When did Peter really realize that Jesus’ deliverance was to come as a spiritual deliverance not an earthly one?
In my walk with Jesus, I have had more than one occasion to confirm that Jesus is my deliverer, whether I can immediately see the evidence or not! “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Peter is convinced, note his words in Acts 2:36 “God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
I went shopping today. And what did I see? On the magazine rack amid the Holiday cheers, recipes, and crossword puzzles, was a picture portrayal of Jesus on Life Magazine, still with the question, Who Do You Say That I Am?