“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10–11)
This is the first verse in the gospel of Luke in which Jesus is referred to as Christ. That is a very important word that we will spend some time thinking about today and tomorrow. Why did they call him Jesus Christ, because his real name is Jesus?
Christ is a New Testament Greek word that means anointed one. The Old Testament or Hebrew word Messiah is the same word, just in a different language. In the Old Testament special people were chosen for particular tasks and dedicated for God’s service. Oil was poured over their heads as a sign that this person was chosen by God, set apart to do a special task. For example, God chose David to be the king because Saul had disobeyed God. God told Samuel to go to Jesse’s house, because God was going to choose one of Jesse’s sons to be king. In 1 Samuel 16:12 David, the shepherd boy, was anointed. He was set apart by God to one day be the king.
Other people were chosen by God and anointed for other kinds of tasks. Priests were anointed to serve in the temple. Aaron and his sons, the temple and all the things that were used in the temple, were anointed with oil to be set apart and used by God. The Old Testament books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers use the word anoint a great deal when they talk about how God is to be worshipped. These books tell about the leaders (the priests) who will help the people to worship God. Even some prophets, like Elisha, were anointed and chosen by God to do a special work (I Kings 19:16; Psalm 105:15).
When people thought of Jesus as the Christ, the anointed one, there was special meaning in that title. Jesus was going to be the one who was chosen by God to be The Ruler, The King, The Priest, the Prophet from God. God had a special work for Jesus to do. When he is called Christ it is because he is the one chosen by God that the people had been waiting for. They rejoiced because God had sent to them his Chosen One. Praise God he has sent the Christ to us as well.