Rooted in Christ

A Creedal Christmas – Christ

This Advent series explores the identity of the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, using the description found in the Apostles’ Creed.

“This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” (Acts 17:3, NKJV)

The Greek word “Christ” translates the Hebrew word “Messiah.”  Both Christ and Messiah mean “Anointed One,” the One set apart and endued with the Spirit of God as God’s promised prophet, priest, and king. All of the Old Testament points to Jesus as the Messiah promised from the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15), the One who would bring deliverance.

Over the years we would learn more about this Messiah as more and more of the Bible is written. We learn He would be a greater prophet than Moses. In fact, He would be called the Prophet (compare Deut. 18:15-18 with John 1:21). He would be the perfect Priest. Remarkably, He would be both priest and sacrifice (Is. 53; Heb. 7:26-28). And He would be the ultimate King, the son in the line of David who would sit on the throne of an everlasting, redemptive kingdom (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Luke 1:30-33).          

To say that Jesus is the Christ is to ascribe to Him all that the Old Testament heralded of God’s Messiah. The fifth chapter of the Gospel of John paints an epochal portrait of Jesus, speaking of His identity and the climactic character of His mission. In that chapter Jesus says this: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39).

The Scriptures of which He speaks are the Old Testament. After His resurrection, Jesus summarizes the message of the entire Old Testament with these words to His disciples: “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46–47).

To say that Jesus is the Christ is a statement of historic proportion.

The New Testament goes to great lengths to make clear who Jesus is. John explained the purpose of his Gospel account, where he recorded remarkable signs and teaching about Jesus: "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30–31).

Much of the New Testament aims to reveal Jesus as the Christ and persuade the readers to rest on Him for salvation. (excerpted from The Christian’s Creed, pp. 54-55) 

Digging Deeper (questions are from the Christian’s Creed Workbook)

  1. What do the titles Christ and Messiah mean?
  2. How is Jesus the One anointed as prophet, as priest, and as king, different from anyone in the Bible before Him?     

“Father, I thank You that You made Jesus both Lord and Christ.” 

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Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved. Those marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.