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What does it mean to say, Jesus is the Messiah?

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## Friday, January 13, 2012 ### What Does It Mean to Say, "Jesus Is Messiah"? By Walter Russell The Bible is more focused upon proving that Jesus is the Messiah than on proving that Jesus is God. While some NT passages clearly declare that Jesus preexisted as deity, dozens demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth is the long- awaited Davidic Messiah-King of Israel. In other words, Jesus is the only one anointed with the Holy Spirit by God the Father and thereby uniquely authorized and empowered to bring about God's kingdom on earth. He is the Anointed One (Hebrew = Messiah; Greek = Christ). While His messianic identity includes His divine preexistence, this isn't the primary emphasis of the NT. That's why all four Gospels speak of Jesus' anointing (baptism) with the Holy Spirit as the beginning of His ministry as the Christ (.NR 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-22; Jn 1:32-34). For this reason, Christ is a title or office.. not a part of Jesus' name. Whenever "Jesus Christ" or "Christ Jesus" or "Lord Jesus Christ" is used, the NT is saying, "Jesus the Messiah" or "Messiah Jesus" or "Lord Jesus the Messiah." To understand the full significance of saying, "Jesus is Messiah," we must think primarily historically and secondarily theologically. For example, when it comes to Luke 4:16-30-Jesus' inaugural address in the Nazareth synagogue-we must think historically to understand what Jesus was claiming about Himself. He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2, a favorite messianic passage of the Jews in Jesus' day and one d a cluster of OT passages speaking of the Spirit of the Lord anointing the Servant at the Lord to preach good news to needy people. In Luke 4:21, Jesus claimed that the Spirit anointing that Isaiah prophesied had been fulfilled in His anointing (baptism in John the Baptist's presence a short time before (Lk 3:21-22). In other words, Jesus claimed to be the Anointed One-the Messiah of Israel. Moreover, Jesus made the unpopular point that His present messianic ministry would be gracious to Gentiles, not wreaking vengeance upon them or overthrowing Rome (Lk 4:23-30). Jesus" claims can be understood only when we see them primarily as claims to be the Messiah who is the unique representative of the Father. Even in passages clearly emphasizing Jesus' deity (e.g., Jn 1:1-18), such a theological emphasis is secondary to the historical emphasis that the Word who preexisted as God has become flesh and dwelt among us as Messiah. The double mention of John the Baptist, Messiah's forerunner, reveals that the messianic framework is primary (Jn 1:6-8,15). Even Jesus' miracles weren't primarily to prove His deity but to prove His Spirit-anointed identity (e.g., Jn 6:1-15). However, they prove He is the Messiah as well as God. Also, the confession Jesus spent three years soliciting from His disciples was not "You are God" (which He is) but "You are the Christ" (Mt 16:16; Mk 8:29: Lk 9:20). Moreover, rejection of Jesus' works is not a rejection of His deity per se but rather is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit who has empowered these works by the Anointed One (Mt 12:22-32; Mk 3:20-30). Last, Jesus' resurrection is the occasion of His coronation or official installation as the messianic ruler (Ps 2, esp. vv.7-12; Mt 28:16-20; Rm 1:1-5; Ac 13:30-33; Heb 1:1-14). In defending Jesus' identity, we should confidently set forth, as the NT does, that "Jesus is Messiah!" Extracted from the Apologetics Study Bible.

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1 Yaakov ben Chaim Tzvi = "This is a very important distinction since it wasn't until years later during the Council of Nicaea, in 325 CE that Jesus and God became the same "person". Until that point there had been a schism in the Church as to who Jesus actually was. Was Jesus the "Messiah" which the Hebrew Scriptures state was not a divine being but merely a messenger of the divine, or was Jesus part of the Godhead? After a vote was taken by the estimated 318 bishops, the Nicaean council agreed that Jesus was in fact the same as God and that became official church doctrine. Within Hebrew scriptures, the Messiah was not supposed to be a divine being himself, but one "like David" with a family who would usher in the Messianic age and whose "seed" would continue to rule the House of Israel. It wasn't until hundreds of years later that Jesus became God thereby severing the link between the early Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christian Church. This is why the early Jewish Christians left the church as the Gentile Church had blasphemed the God if Israel by creating a man in his image; Jesus.The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the Church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom. The primary purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements arising from within the Church of Alexandria over the nature of the Son in his relationship to the Father: in particular, whether the Son had been 'begotten' by the Father from his own being, with no beginning, or rather, begotten in time, or created out of nothing, therefore having a beginning. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arianism comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250–318 attendees, all but two agreed to sign the creed and these two, along with Arius, were banished to Illyria).Wikipedia - First Council of Nicaea"
2 Sarah R = "Although the Nicene Council was important for unifying the church, clearing up false teaching, and establishing official doctrine, the belief in Jesus as God is as old as the writings of the disciples of Jesus and the apostle Paul. The NT does clearly state Jesus' divinity in various passages, which have already been noted on this post. We also have testimony from the early church fathers, the disciples of Jesus' disciples, stating Jesus' divinity. For example, Polycarp, a disciple of John the disciple of Jesus (and author of the gospel of John and the NT letters), wrote that Jesus was God. Irenaeus, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria... the list goes on... also testified to the deity of Jesus. These writings are important because they are all before the Nicene Creed and from as early as AD 100. Therefore, though over time there were false teachers who arose, the original writings show us that the belief in Jesus as God is not a corruption, but a belief that the disciples and first believers held.The interested reader can see more, here: http://www.bethinking.org/jesus/the-early-church-fathers-on-jesus"
3 Sarah R = "Consider for example:John 1:1, 14 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."Colossians 2:9 "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."Also: Mt 14:33; 28:9; Lk 24:52; Jn 5:18; 8:24, 58; 9:35-38; 10:30-33; 20:28; Acts 20:28; Phil 2:5-8; Tit 2:3; Heb 1:8; 2 Pt 1:1; Rev 1:17-18."
4 Sarah R = "No other prophet before (or after) Jesus could make the claims that He did - that He had come from God (rather than was sent by God) that He had the authority to speak (I say to you, rather than the Lord says), that He existed with God before time began, that He was equal with God, and that He would return to God to sit at God's right hand - a position of power and authority."
5 Sarah R = "Isaiah 40:2 and Malachi 3:1 prophecy the forerunner of Jesus."