In Hebrew, Messiah means the “Anointed One,” which is also the meaning of Christ in Greek, which is the language of the New Testament. Jesus claimed to be this Messiah-God.
1. Jesus verifies Peter’s identification of Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 16:15-17
2. Jesus claims to be the Christ in fulfillment of messianic prophecy in Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13.
Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?“ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. Mark 14:60-63
For centuries, the Jews had been waiting for the Promised One, the Deliverer. Suffering under Roman oppression, they longed for a political leader who would rescue them, so they could again become an independent nation. But the Hebrew prophets describe another kind of Promised Deliverer as well, sometimes called “The Suffering Servant,” from Isaiah 53:
“1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 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. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 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. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Written over six centuries before the time Jesus lived on earth, this prophecy has two parts: the first describes the deliverer will suffer for the sins of others, and the second predicts the return of this conquering King. The Jewish leaders were anticipating the arrival of the political leader, rejecting the sacrificial role, thereby helping to fulfill the prophecy that the Anointed One must first die for the transgressions of others, and then return again. They failed to recognize the Promised Deliverer. May we not do the same.