by Lim Chong Teck
Beginning from Matt 22: 15, the Pharisees, Sadducees and lawyers of the law asked Jesus many questions on the same day (Matt 22:23,46) with the purpose of entangling Him (Matt 22:15). The book of Luke in 20:20 gives an even clearer motive stating, and they watched him, and sent forth spies which feigned themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
With that motive in mind they put forth three difficult questions to trap Him. If we had not the answers given by Jesus, others would not know the answer or fell for their trap in answering them. After replying them, interestingly in return Jesus asked them some questions concerning Christ (Matt. 22:41-45.) The first was a broader question concerning Christ, the second a more specific question concerning His lineage.
Who is the Christ? The word Christ is derived from the Greek word Kristus which in turn comes from the Hebrew word Messiah. It means the Anointed. In 1 Samuel 16:3 David was anointed with oil as one chosen to be king. In 1 Kings 19:15 we see prophets and kings anointed as chosen by God. The anointing symbolizes the Chosen One or Chosen by God.
And so the Jews were eagerly waiting for the Messiah or Christ to come to deliver them from their enemies and to reveal God’s teachings to them. This desire can be seen in that even the common people of the day were waiting for the Christ to come ( John 4:25).
Therefore not surprisingly the Pharisees being students of the law were more than prepared to give an answer to the physical lineage of Christ. They gave their answer based on Isaiah 11:1 & 10. And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots (vs 1). They had given a correct answer. However when Christ asked them a follow up question with a quotation from Psalms 110:1 they were stumped. That was probably because they were always thinking of an earthly kingdom.
In Acts 2: 25-36 Peter explains from a quotation by David in the book of Psalms. David in prophesying saw beyond flesh & blood. David saw the resurrection of Christ and the ascension of his Lord into heaven, sitting at the right hand of God. By calling him Lord, David was in essence acknowledging Jesus to be higher in authority and by sitting on the right hand of God means all authority is given to Him. Indeed by Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension to heaven, God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ. A reading of Acts 2:25-36 will shed light on God’s plan for Christ.
While the result of the questions stopped the Jews from tempting Him with more questions, nevertheless I believe probably Jesus’ question was to push them to think beyond flesh and blood, to be able to see the spiritual kingdom that God had planned.
What think ye of Christ is indeed a very pertinent question. If we were looking for the Messiah or Christ, apart from the lineage of David, how would we ascertain who is the Christ? Interestingly when Jesus was born and wise men from the east came to Herod the king concerning Christ, Herod asked the Jews for an answer. The Jews rightly went to the scriptures for an answer and found in Micah 5:2 that the ruler would be born in Bethlehem. How do we therefore ascertain the Christ or Messiah from the scriptures?
There must be an anointing by God’s will.
As the word Christ describes, there must be an anointing by God as the Chosen one. Acts 10:38 tells us that Jesus was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit. Matt 3:16 and John 1: 30-34 tell us that John bore witness to this during Jesus’ baptism and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. This confirms that Jesus was anointed as the chosen one which was witnessed by a prophet.
Christ must fulfill the Law.( Luke 24:44-46, Matt 5:17 ).
Christ must fulfilled the Law in two ways.
What is prophesied concerning Him must come to pass.
He must be able to live by all that is required by the Law without any failures.
There are so many prophecies concerning Christ. For now we will take a look from the first book of the New Testament. Regarding His special birth. Matt 1: 20-23 is the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:4.
Place of His birth: Matt 2: 4-11 fulfillment of Micah 5:2
Concerning His forerunner: Matt 3:1-3 fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3
Concerning His work: Matt 4:13-16 fulfillment of Isaiah 9: 1-2
When John the Baptist was unsure of Jesus being the One he should look for, he sent two of his disciple to ask Jesus (Matthew 11: 2-6.) Jesus appealed to the scripture in verses 4-6 regarding the type of work He was doing and the many witnesses of these works. (Matt 11:3-6 is a fulfillment of Isaiah 29:18 & Isaiah 35:5-6.)
His way of doing His work Matt 12: 15-21 with Isaiah 42:1ff
One of his methods of teaching. Matt 13:11-15 with Isaiah 6: 9-10
Matt 13:34-35 a fulfillment of Psalms 78:2
Matt 15: 7-8 a fulfillment of Isaiah 29:13
There are indeed more prophecies that can be listed but this suffices for now. Some have counted over 400 prophecies concerning Christ.
It must also be noted that Christ must live by the law and be without sin. Jesus during his baptism expressed that it was His desire to fulfill all righteousness (Matt 3: 15). And this He did as He came to do God’s will(Heb 10:7). In fact Jesus lived a sinless life (1 Peter 2: 22-24, 2 Cor 5:21) thus fulfilled the scriptures to become the perfect sacrifice (Heb 10:7-10).
Christ must have a fore runner ( Malachi 4:5-6)
The ministry of Jesus began with the baptism of John. The ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare for the one called Christ. There are many so called Christ that came before and after Jesus but none of them had “Elijah” to come before them to prove they were the Christ. Indeed only Jesus had John the Baptist as the one preparing the way for Him.(John 3:25 – 28).
“And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11 Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first[a] and will restore all things. 12 But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist. “ (Matt 17:10-13)
He must speak God’s word.
Deut 18:18 “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth ; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” This verse tells us the Messiah will speak the words that God had commanded Him.
John 17: 8 “Jesus says For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believe that thou didst sent me.” John 7:16-17 tells us that the doctrine that Jesus spoke was from God. In Luke 4:32 & 36, the people were astonished at His word for it was with power and Matt 7:28-29 says He taught with authority.
None has spoken as Jesus had. In fact Jesus went further to say in Matt 24:35 that “heaven & earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away.”
Miracles, signs & wonders as a witness.
In John 5:36 Jesus appealed to the works that He did as a witness that God had sent Him. In John 3: 2 Nicodemus acknowledged that Jesus was a teacher from God as the miracles that Jesus did must be done through the power of God. John 7:31 states that the miracles were numerous. Acts 2:22 “Ye men of Israel , hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know.”
The miracles that Jesus did confirmed His words and showed that God had sent Him. His resurrection and ascension to heaven is the strongest evidence to God’s approval.
All that He said must be true and His prophecy must come true, that is to be fulfilled. (Deuteronomy 18: 21-22 ).
Jesus prophesied concerning His death and resurrection (Luke 9:22, Luke 18:31-33).He spoke concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in Matt 24. He spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts1: 4-5) All came true.
He must claim to be Christ.
In Matt 26:63 and Luke 22:67-71 Jesus claimed to be the Christ. It was based on this confession that the Jews persuaded and demanded Pontius Pilate that Jesus be crucified. Indeed He not only claimed to be Christ but proven Himself to be Christ. And God had made Him both Lord and Christ and at the feet of Christ will all knees bow and all mouths confess. There is no one who has fulfilled all the above except Jesus and indeed He is both Lord and Christ.
Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore God also exalted him, and given him a name above every name; That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow; of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”