One would think that the expectations of a long-awaited appearing of the Messiah with all of what such an event brings about, is a rather straightforward affair, but such was not the case. The Jewish Scriptures [TANAKH] do indeed mention such a person, but not all the narratives portray Him in the same way; in fact, it seems that at least four different individuals could fill that role. In its most basic sense, Messiah simply means “anointed,” which applies to anyone who had oil poured on them to be consecrated [set apart] and dedicated for God’s holy purpose (Cp. 1 Samuel 2: 10, 35; 12: 3, 5). Baalim’s prophecy in Genesis 49: 10 foretold about the coming of “Shiloh” from the tribe of Judah, however, the word means “at peace;” the very meaning contained in the name of Solomon [‘Peaceful’] King of Judah.
Then there is “the Prophet” that Moses said would come in the future (Cp. Deuteronomy 18: 10) of whom some thought was John the Baptizer (Cp. John 1: 19, 25). A Suffering Servant or One of humiliation is presented in Psalms 16: 1, 10; 22: 1-21; 40: 1-3, 13, 15; Isaiah 52: 14; 53: 1-12. The Messiah is portrayed as a type of supernatural being or as God in Micah 5: 2-4; Isaiah 9: 6; Zechariah 14: 1, 4, 9, 16, and as a God-appointed King or Ruler (Cp. Psalms 2: 1-9; 110: 1-6). Now it is time to see what the conditions were like in the social conditions and contemporary setting into which the Savior [Jesus of Nazareth] came.
John 1: 40-41
One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. Then he found his own brother, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ [Anointed, Deliverer]). . .
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law [Torah], and also the prophets, wrote-Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
NOTE: That’s an amazing statement coming from Nathanael, considering his initial introduction to Jesus [Yeshua]; and before any miraculous proofs were demonstrated prior to their meeting. Even after three and one half years, the most prominent of the disciples were not quite as certain as he was at this early period. Also, the TANAKH says that this unique person would come from Judah and not from Galilee.
“You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ [Messiah],’ but I have been sent before Him.’
The [Samaritan] woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (He who is called Christ [Anointed, Deliverer]. “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus [Yeshua] said to her, I Who speak to you am He.”
For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in His own country.
Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet (Cp. Deuteronomy 18: 10).” Others said, “This is the Christ [Messiah].” But some said, “Will the Christ [Messiah] come out of Galilee? “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem (Cp. Micah 5: 2), where David was?” So there was a division among them.
She said to Him, “Yes, LORD, I believe that You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God, Who is to come into the world.”
The people answered Him, “We have heard from the Law [Torah] that the Christ [Messiah] remains forever (Cp. Micah 5: 2); and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”
Matthew 16: 15-16
He said to them, "But who do you say that I [the Son of Man] am?" Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God."
Matthew 23: 10
“And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher [Rabbi], the Christ [Messiah].”
Mark 8: 27-29
Now Jesus [Yeshua] and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?” So they answered, “John the Baptizer; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ [Messiah].”
Luke 1: 67-75
Now, as the people were in expectation and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ [Messiah] or not.
And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent him to Jesus [Yeshua] saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
COMMENTARY: In the Synoptic Gospels (MATTHEW-LUKE) Jesus is mostly referred to by the mysterious title “Son of Man” whereas in JOHN, He was called the Christ [Messiah] or Son of God in numerous instances. Interestingly, in this same book the High priest interrogated Jesus regarding His disciples and His doctrine (Cp. John 18: 19-21), as opposed to His deity; but in the other narratives it seems that the interest was in whether He was the Christ [Messiah] or the Son of God (Cp. Matthew 26: 63-64; Mark 14: 61-62; Luke 22: 67). So, the Messianic expectation has been met with great anticipation of a mighty deliverance from Israel’s enemies, but this time of national unrest and revolt has brought about the martyrdom of many people as well as the death of some charismatic deliverer [Messiah] who led them astray.
Political and religious movements come and go, and all of them have a certain shelf life. People soon return back to their usually normal pursuits until they become mistreated or oppressed, then they look for someone sent by God to inaugurate a new way of life that is free of cruelty and allow the people to worship the LORD just like their forefathers did. Of course, there would naturally be certain signs that would validate the prophetic fulfillment and John the Baptizer wanted to be assured like any other Jewish person of his contemporary time as to whether Jesus [Yeshua] was the promised Messiah [Deliverer] or should they instead, “look for Another?”
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