“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3)
“Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)
(*All scripture quotations are from the World English Bible translation). While this is sure to be a controversial statement, I believe one could accurately say that while there is only one “Jesus,” the Lord and God’s pre-eminent son, there are and have been many “christs.” Allow me to explain. The name “Jesus” was a common male name in Israel, and it refers to the man the person. “Christ” refers to the anointing which was upon and within that man. Of course, Jesus was far from common. He was born to a virgin, performed unparalleled miracles, taught unparalleled truth, and after being crucified, rose from the dead.
“Christ” isn’t a name, but is actually an adjective (descriptive word), meaning “anointed” (see here). Jesus was the name of the man, Christ is what he was. In fact, many places in scripture refer to Jesus as “the Christ,” meaning THE anointed one, the single, special person from God whom Israel was waiting for, their messiah! Jesus’ anointing, as all anointings are, was for a special purpose, one that was unique to him. Jesus was anointed and sent by God to do many things only he could do: fulfill (thus removing and superseding) the law, atone for sin, witness to the truth, and open the way again for the kingdom of God to be established on earth, as it is in heaven, through fully-realized sons of God (of whom Jesus was the first and will always be the greatest). So what we have is Jesus, a man from Nazareth, a descendant of David, who was anointed by God to be “the Christ,” the savior of Israel and the whole world.
Maybe all this sounds crazy or even heretical, but the first apostles, the ones who literally lived by Jesus’ side 24/7 for years, saw Jesus this way. For example, in Acts 4:27, while praying to God, the church refers to Jesus like this: “…your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed…” Acts 5:42 says of the first church: “…they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.“ Later, in Acts 10:38, Peter says: “…Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” According to the apostle Peter, this is who the Jesus from Nazareth was: a man anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power, who did many good works and healed many oppressed people, because God was with him. Isn’t that amazing?
Other verses speak to Jesus’ manhood as well:
- 1Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…”
- Acts 13:37-38: “But he whom God raised up saw no decay. Be it known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man is proclaimed to you remission of sins…”
- Romans 5:15: “For if by the trespass of the one (Adam) the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.”
Maybe you’re wondering what the point of this is? I’ve asked myself that too. I think first of all, it’s worth looking into the nature of Jesus simply because he is the most important person to have ever lived, and what he was about is critical to understand. A wrong view of who Jesus was and what he was about will likely lead to a wrong understanding of what it is to honor the God he represented and was unified with. Second, at least to me personally, it’s very inspiring and encouraging to see and realize that Jesus was not only divine, but human, and that Jesus did what he did as a man, anointed with power by God Himself! I am convinced God doesn’t desire for men to imitate Jesus from their own effort and understanding, as that can never fulfill His will. Instead, I believe God desires, even awaits sons, who, just like his firstborn Jesus, fulfill the role God has personally anointed (“Christed”) them for; who perform their function in the body Christ as the spirit (anointing) leads and enables. You and I aren’t anointed to be the Lord of all or to fulfill the law, to be the first and greatest. However, if like Jesus we follow the leading of the spirit for us personally, submitting to God, we will walk as Jesus’ brothers and sisters and be joined together as the body of Christ on earth now.
I am putting the finishing touches on a post looking at the “Christ” side of Jesus Christ, which I hope to publish soon. God bless you!