and “Christ” are Hebrew and Greek words which both
mean “anointed”. Both are titles that apply to Jesus
because he was anointed by God to take the central role in his
plan for the salvation of mankind. Yet even though the Jews
of Jesus’ day were longing for their Messiah to arrive,
they did not recognise him when he came. This chapter examines
When Jesus was arrested, illegally tried, condemned to death
and executed in the most degrading and horrible way, his disciples
were totally devastated; their world was destroyed. Despite
the fact that Jesus had told them clearly on several occasions
that he was to be killed, they were not expecting this awful
end to their relationship with their beloved master. “We
had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel”
(v21) said the disciple on the way to Emmaus a few days later.
It took a further explanation from the resurrected Jesus to
set things straight.
1. Did the two disciples in this passage believe that Jesus,
who as far as they knew was dead, was really the Messiah (Christ)?
Had their opinion changed?
2. Why did they fail to understand the role of the Christ
before this discussion with Jesus, when it seemed so clear
after his explanation on the way to Emmaus?
3. What are some of the passages from “Moses and
all the prophets” (v27) that Jesus might have used to
show how the Christ had to suffer? Are they obvious?
did Jesus’ own disciples, as well as virtually every
other Jew of the day, completely miss the point of what the
Messiah was to do? The answer lies in two different aspects
of Messiah’s work: both are essential to God’s
plan; only one was identi?ed by the Jews.
The popular view of Messiah: the liberating king
The actual references to “Messiah” or the anointed
one in the
Old Testament are few, but many passages were understood
to refer to this leader to come.Daniel 9:25 KJV The prophet Daniel spoke
of “Messiah the Prince”. King David in several
to the Lord’s anointed. e.g. Psalm 2:2 Anointing with oil was the outward
demonstration of a king’s ascension to the throne, or
priest’s or prophet’s commissioning for the work
of God. To
speak of someone as “God’s anointed” implied
There are also many references to a king who would rule wisely
and justly over an extensive kingdom. To the Jews of Jesus’
time, the Messiah would come as a conquering king, defeating
the Romans and restoring the glories of the ancient kingdom
Israel. He would sit on King David’s throne and usher
in a time
of prosperity and righteousness. This gave the common people
This picture of the Messiah as king is quite correct—God’s
kingdom will be established with Jesus as king, reigning from Jerusalem over a world at peace. The confusion arose because
nobody realised that before the crown there had to come the
The forgotten view of Messiah: the suffering servant
The prophet Isaiah paints the most detailed picture of this
aspect of the Messiah’s work. He is portrayed as a lamb
going to the slaughter, a man quietly and willingly suffering
in obedience to God himself.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows,
and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide
their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him,
and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that
brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we
are healed. (Isaiah 53:3–5)
This concept was utterly foreign to the Jews of Jesus’ day, both
the common people and the religious leaders. Peter, Jesus’
most outspoken disciple, rejected it vehemently. Matthew 16:21–23 Many early
followers of Jesus lost interest in him when he continued
talk about suffering and self-denial rather than overthrowing
the Roman oppressors.
Messiah/anointed in the Old Testament:
|Psalm 2:2; 45:7; 89:20; Isaiah 61:1–3; Daniel 9:24–26.
The suffering Messiah:
|Psalm 22:1–21; Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:26; Zechariah 12:10.
The coming king:
|2 Samuel 7:12–16; Psalm 72; Jeremiah 23:5–6; 30:8–9; Ezekiel 37:24–25; Micah 5:2–4; Zechariah 9:9–10; Matthew 2:2.
Christ in the New Testament:
|Matthew 2:4; 22:41–45; Mark 15:32; Luke 2:11; John 1:41; 4:25–26; 7:26–31; Acts 2:29–36; 9:20–22; 26:22–23.
The Lamb of God:
|John 1:29,36; Acts 8:32–35; 1 Peter 1:18–21; Revelation 5:5–12.
Reconciling the two views: God’s master plan
The Messiah was to bring together many themes from the Old
Testament scriptures. God’s plan required a perfect
human being who would willingly die as the perfect sacrifice
for the sins of mankind. By faith in him, the way to God was
opened up and forgiveness was made available. Then people
could be counted as righteous by having faith that Jesus died
for the forgiveness of their sins and so be given eternal
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant,
that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set
free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews
Much of the Law of Moses concerning sacrifices and worship
was a parable or pattern pointing forward to the work of Christ.
Christ now acts as a high priest for those who accept his
saving grace; he mediates with the Father on our behalf and
helps to make our characters more like his. When he returns
to earth he will judge the living and the dead.. He will establish
the kingdom of God and rule from Jerusalem with those he has
saved from sin and death. This will fulfil all of the prophecies
concerning the Messiah/Christ/King/Prophet/Servant/Lamb.
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many
people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin,
but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews
The complete picture was not understood by Jesus’ followers
until after his death and resurrection. Cleopas and his com-Luke
24:13–35 panion on the Emmaus road appear to have been
the first to understand the role of Jesus as the Christ. Subsequently
the apostles’ preaching to the Jews and later to the
Gentiles was concerned with ensuring everyone understood the purpose of
God through his son.
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on
three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer
and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming
you is the Christ”, he said. (Acts 17:2–3)
we have access to the complete Bible, we can read the Old
Testament prophecies and descriptions of Jesus the Messiah
and the New Testament gospel accounts of his life and work
and the comments by the apostles linking the two together.
We should be most thankful to God that we have this privilege.
Let us take full advantage of it to understand and embrace
the salvation Jesus offers.
• “Messiah” and “Christ” both
mean “anointed” and are titles given to the promised
righteous king. That king is Jesus.
• Before the Christ could assume his role as king, he
first had to suffer and die for the sins of the world and
be raised from the dead to act as mediator and giver of grace
to those who believe on him. Many did not recognise the need
for Messiah to suffer and die until Jesus died and rose again.
• God’s plan relating to Jesus as Messiah will
be completed when Jesus returns to earth as king.
1. The Old Testament does not make many references to the
actual word “Messiah” or “anointed”
yet there are lots of references in the New Testament to “the
Christ”. How else is this anointed one described? How
do we know they are all referring to the same person?
2. The Jews in the time of Jesus knew their Old Testament
scriptures very well. Why did they miss the need for the Messiah
to suffer, only recognizing the kingship? Answer this from
the perspective of both the religious leaders (scribes, Pharisees,
Sadducees) and the disciples of Jesus.
3. In Matthew 22:41–46, Jesus may appear to be arguing
that the Christ is t the son (descendant) of David. Is this
what he is really saying? If not, what is the point he is
4. Briefy outline God’s plan for the salvation of mankind
from the first sin in Eden through to the kingdom of God on
earth. How is the Messiah (Jesus) the key to this plan?
1. Construct an argument from Old Testament scripture such
as might have been used by Peter or Paul when speaking to
Jews, to prove that Jesus is the Christ.
2. In Luke 24 Jesus used “Moses and all the prophets” to show that the Christ had to suffer before being glori?ed.
What passages might he have referred to in the first five books
of the Bible (the books of Moses)? What passages from the
prophets might he have referred to?
3. What is the position of modern Jews with respect to
prophecies of a suffering Messiah? How would you try to convince
a Jew looking for the first coming of the Messiah/King that
they are really looking to the second coming of Jesus?
• Christ in the Old Testament by Harry Tennant (published by The Christadelphian).
• Thine is the Kingdom by Peter Southgate (published by the Dawn
Book Supply, second ed., 1997). Chapter 7.
• A Life of Jesus by Melva Purkis (published by The Christadelphian,
1956). This is a biography of Jesus, and covers many aspects
of his role as Messiah, and the difficulty people had in accepting
Old Testament prophecies of Jesus
32. Jesus: Son of God and Son of Man
35. The sacrifice of Jesus
39. What is Jesus doing now?
42. The return of Jesus
45. The kingdom of God