Reading: Psalm 89
How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
Remember how fleeting is my life.
For what futility you have created all humanity!
Who can live and not see death,
or who can escape the power of the grave?
Lord, where is your former great love,
which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked,
how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations,
the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked,
with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
Praise be to the LORD forever!
Amen and Amen (NIV).
Early evening on the Ottawa River — photo by David Kitz
Many people believe that Christ is Jesus’ last name. That is not true. The Bible does not tell us Jesus’ family name. Often he is identified by the town that he is from—Jesus of Nazareth. So what then is the significance of the word Christ or Khristos in the Greek? Christ is a title. One might even call it a job description. It means the anointed one, the one designated by God to rule and reign over his people. The Greek word Khristos or Christ corresponds to the Hebrew word Mashiach or Messiah. The anointed one or Christ was and is the son of David, who rules over the house of Jacob and the Israel of God. Just as David was anointed to be king of Israel, Jesus is anointed to be our king for this life and eternity.
When we read Psalm 89 with the understanding that the anointed one is also the Christ, the psalm takes on a whole new layer of meaning. Yes, during the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians, the anointed one was mocked. But this is also true of Jesus, the anointed Son of David, who was led off to be crucified outside the city gate. These words were fulfilled in Christ: Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, the taunts with which your enemies, LORD, have mocked, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
But there is a significant difference between the Old Testament, anointed one, and our New Testament Christ. The psalmist asks this question: Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave?
The implicit answer is that no one can escape death and the grave. But… but there is One—One, who tasted death on our behalf—One, who escaped the power of the grave. His name is Jesus. He is the Christ, the anointed One, and our Messiah. He is the One who by virtue of the resurrection is King now and forevermore.
Response: LORD God, I thank you for Jesus, the Christ, the anointed One. Thank you for your death, burial and resurrection. I join with the psalmist in saying, “Praise be to the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.”
Your Turn: In what way is Christ a job description? What job has he done and is he doing for you?