I was at a Bible study the other day and I got into a discussion with someone who was there. I stated that the idea of the coming Messiah was not new to the nation of Israel when Jesus finally arrived… that they had been waiting for Him (The Conquering Messiah) since the fall of Jerusalem. So, of course, I struggled to find that in the Scriptures on the spot and the attorney argued that there were no early messiahs and that this idea of ‘Messiahs’ would only develop after Jesus came. What is the truth?
If Christ/Messiah was an idea that only developed after Jesus came, then what was it the woman at the well (a Samaritan woman) waiting for? This woman was a Samaritan and knew that a Messiah would come and He would teach and change her world. She already had language to use to apply to Jesus.
John 4:25 (ESV): The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He Who is called Christ). When He comes, He will tell us all things.”
If Christ/Messiah was an idea that only developed after Jesus came, then what was Philip (a Jewish man) saying to Nathanael (a Jewish man) once he met Jesus? Both of these people meet Jesus and identify Him as the Messiah. They already had language to use to apply to Jesus. Notice Philip identifies Moses and the prophets as his source of expectation of the Messiah.
John 1:45 (ESV): Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.
If Christ/Messiah was an idea that only developed after Jesus came, then what was Andrew (a Jewish man) saying to Peter (a Jewish man) once he met Jesus? He already had language to use to apply to Jesus.
John 1:41 (ESV): He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
If Christ/Messiah was an idea that only developed after Jesus came, what/Who was it that God promised Simeon by the Holy Spirit he would see before he died? Granted, the following passage does not use the word ‘Christ/Messiah,” but the ‘salvation’ and ‘light’ and ‘glory’ is clearly speaking of Jesus which this man was already waiting for. The prophetess Anna (Luke 2:36-38) confirms this and links ‘redemption for Jerusalem.’
Luke 2:28-32 (ESV): 8 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, 29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; 30 for my eyes have seen Your salvation 31 that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.”
If Christ/Messiah was an idea that only developed after Jesus came, then what was King Herod so upset about when he learned of a birth in Bethlehem of the ‘King of the Jews?’ Notice not only did this Jewish-raised-Roman know about the Christ, but he also knew He would be a king (for that is what the wise men were looking for) and the chief priests and scribes of the people knew how to answer. They cited Micah 5:2 (Old Testament).
Matthew 2:3-6 (ESV): When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
RELATED BIBLE PASSAGES:
If there is no reference to Jesus the Christ/Messiah in the Old Testament, then what was Jesus teaching about on the road to Emmaus after He rose from the dead? Jesus knew that Moses spoke of Him as did the prophets. Jesus, Himself, says Moses and the Prophets were looking forward to Him.
Luke 24:27 (ESV): And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Luke 24:44 (ESV): Then He said to them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.
What was the point Jesus was making every time He called Himself ‘the Son of Man?’ This was His favorite nickname/title for Himself. He did so because He was linking Himself (the Christ) back to an Old Testament prophet who looked forward to His arrival. Matthew 8:20, 9:6, 10:23, 11:19, 12:8, 12:3212:40, 13:37, 13:41, 16:13, 16:27, 16:28, 17:9, 17:12, 17:22, 19:28, 20:18, 20:28, 24:27, 24:30, 24:37, 24:39, 24:44, 25:31, 26:2, 26:24, 26:45, 26:64 are those times just in Matthew Jesus invokes the prophecy of Daniel looking forward to Him.
Daniel 7:9-10 (ESV): “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Moses was also one who looked forward to Jesus. He is mentioned often in the New Testament.
Deuteronomy 18:15-18 (ESV): “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
The term ‘Messiah’ / ‘Christ’ was already a term when Jesus arrived on the scene and He fulfilled the role perfectly answering the promises of God in the Old Testament and fulfilling prophecies in His life.