Je’sus, the proper, as Christ is the official, name of our Lord. To distinguish him from others so called, he is spoken of as “Jesus of Nazareth” (John 18:7), and “Jesus the son of Joseph” (John 6:42).
This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was originally Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus. It was given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save (Matt. 1:21).
Christ, meaning anointed, the Greek translation of the Hebrew word rendered “Messiah” (q.v.), the official title of our Lord, occurring five hundred and fourteen times in the New Testament. It denotes that he was anointed or consecrated to his great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest, and King of his people. He is Jesus the Christ (Acts 17:3; 18:5; Matt. 22:42), the Anointed One. He is thus spoken of by Isaiah (61:1), and by Daniel (9:24-26), who styles him “Messiah the Prince.”
The Messiah is the same person as “the seed of the woman” (Gen. 3:15), “the seed of Abraham” (Gen. 22:18), the “Prophet like unto Moses” (Deut. 18:15), “the priest after the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4), “the rod out of the stem of Jesse” (Isa. 11:1, 10), the “Immanuel,” the virgin’s son (Isa. 7:14), “the branch of Jehovah” (Isa. 4:2), and “the messenger of the covenant” (Mal. 3:1). This is he “of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write.” The Old Testament Scripture is full of prophetic declarations regarding the Great Deliverer and the work he was to accomplish. Jesus the Christ is Jesus the Great Deliverer, the Anointed One, the Saviour of men. This name denotes that Jesus was divinely appointed, commissioned, and accredited as the Saviour of men (Heb. 5:4; Isa. 11:2-4; 49:6; John 5:37; Acts 2:22).
To believe that “Jesus is the Christ” is to believe that he is the Anointed, the Messiah of the prophets, the Saviour sent of God, that he was, in a word, what he claimed to be. This is to believe the gospel, by the faith of which alone men can be brought unto God (Acts 4:12). That Jesus is the Christ is the testimony of God, and the faith of this constitutes a Christian (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 John 5:1).
The life of Jesus on earth may be divided into two great periods, (1) that of his private life, till he was about thirty years of age; and (2) that of his public life, which lasted about three years.
In the “fullness of time” he was born at Bethlehem, in the reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23; comp. John 7:42). His birth was announced to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20). Wise men from the east came to Bethlehem to see him who was born “King of the Jews,” bringing gifts with them (Matt. 2:1-12). Herod’s cruel jealousy led to Joseph’s flight into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus, where they tarried till the death of this king (Matt. 2:13-23), when they returned and settled in Nazareth, in Lower Galilee (2:23; comp. Luke 4:16; John 1:46, etc.). At the age of twelve years he went up to Jerusalem to the Passover with his parents. There, in the temple, “in the midst of the doctors,” all that heard him were “astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:41, etc.).
Eighteen years pass, of which we have no record beyond this, that he returned to Nazareth and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
He entered on his public ministry when he was about thirty years of age. It is generally reckoned to have extended to about three years. “Each of these years had peculiar features of its own. (1.) The first year may be called the year of obscurity, both because the records of it which we possess are very scanty, and because he seems during it to have been only slowly emerging into public notice. It was spent for the most part in Judea. (2.) The second year was the year of public favour, during which the country had become thoroughly aware of him; his activity was incessant, and his frame rang through the length and breadth of the land. It was almost wholly passed in Galilee. (3.) The third was the year of opposition, when the public favour ebbed away. His enemies multiplied and assailed him with more and more pertinacity, and at last he fell a victim to their hatred. The first six months of this final year were passed in Galilee, and the last six in other parts of the land.”, Stalker’s Life of Jesus Christ, p. 45.
The only reliable sources of information regarding the life of Christ on earth are the Gospels, which present in historical detail the words and the work of Christ in so many different aspects.
Compiled by: David Ssekamwa
Sources: King James Version Bible