DEFINITIONS AND ADVENT BASICS
Brothers and Sisters,
There are loads of titles and names for Christ that get thrown around almost as if they are interchangeable or as if they mean the same thing. Maybe you have heard people call Jesus the Christ, the redeemer, the messiah, the savior, the Son of God, the Son of Man, and many other titles as well. These terms – these titles – each have their own meaning and their own expectations for what the one Who holds the title is to do.
Christ: the “anointed One” who would be personally selected by God Himself to bring about God’s Kingdom on Earth, defined by the prophets
Redeemer: the one Who would free humanity from sin and restore grace in human life that was lost due to sin
Messiah: the expected king or political figure that would bring about a culture of profound peace and love to humanity that it would seem like the wolf and the lamb had now become as best of friends (cf Isaiah 11:6-9)
Savior: one who rescues God’s people from imminent danger, similarly to Noah, Joseph, or Moses; the expected salvation would free God’s people from sin which would then bring about safety from physical dangers
Son of God: the glory of one being Himself divine
Son of Man: the willing scapegoat that would humbly give up His own life for the good of others, including for those who would hate or reject Him
Now, it is common to ask why any of these (or other) titles for Christ matter at all – if they all refer to Christ, then why do we need all of these varied titles for Him? It’s a fair question and a good point. The reason is that Christ did not come from nowhere. We did not just find some guy Who did a few miracles, said some profound things and then simply decide that He is God.
Christ is the completion of the whole Old Testament. The centuries that it took to complete the writings of the Patriarchs, the wisdom books, and the prophets concluded with a huge number of things that God promised would come about when “the fullness of time” had come. This means that Christ would be recognized as God not because He was popular, or trendy, or in some way attractive to the time – all of those things would make a religion nothing more than a bellwether for the most popular social influencer of the time. Rather, all of these prophecies would inform the faithful follower of Almighty God that the One who actually accomplished the predictions of the One to come would actually be Him.
God be near,