Download Who is the Messiah and Why is He Named “Jesus”?
Many people have heard of the Messiah and the miracles that He performed but are unaware of His true identity. They do not realize that God gave many prophecies about Him, hundreds and even thousands of years prior to His coming to earth. These prophecies are found in the part of God’s Word that is known as the “Old Testament” given thousands of years ago and includes the Torah, the Psalms, and other books.
The First Prophecy of the Messiah
The first prophecy of the Messiah is found in the first book of the Torah. God spoke it to the Devil after Adam and Eve had sinned:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
There are two striking details about this prophecy. First, a male individual would be “the seed” of the woman; second, He would defeat the Devil but be wounded in the process.
Thousands of years after this prophecy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary in the first century A.D. She was a young girl betrothed to a man named Joseph who was a descendant of King David, the one who defeated Goliath and to whom God also gave many prophecies about the Messiah in the book of Psalms. This is what happened when Gabriel appeared to Mary:
The Angel Gabriel & the Virgin Mary
“…Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:30-35)
What Gabriel announced to Mary was the fulfillment of the prophecy spoken to the Devil after Adam and Eve sinned that the Messiah would be born from the seed of the woman. The birth of the Messiah is unique to all of humanity. He was born of a virgin as a sign that nothing is impossible with God and that He is no ordinary human being but the Son of God.
The Messiah’s Name & Meaning
God’s Word also tells us the meaning of the name, “Jesus,” which is also directly related to the prophecy spoken to the Devil after Adam and Eve sinned that the Messiah would defeat the Devil but be wounded in the process:
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ [i.e. Jesus the Messiah] was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)
The name “Jesus” means “the Lord saves.” As the angel told Joseph, the Messiah was sent to save His people from their sins. This is the greatest need of humanity. But who is strong enough to overcome our disobedience to God and guarantee His forgiveness and ongoing friendship with Him?
Because all people have sinned, no one is able to accomplish this, including prophets. In addition, no human being has the authority to forgive sin on God‘s behalf. This authority belongs only to God.
A Prophecy About Humanity’s Inability
Some 700 years before the Messiah came to earth, God spoke about this inability of humans to save themselves:
“Now the Lord saw, and it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. And He saw that there was no man, and was astonished that there was no one to intercede; then His own arm brought salvation to Him, and His righteousness upheld Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.” (Isaiah 59:15-17)
God said these words after speaking about the destructiveness of sin and how it separates us from Him. God stated very clearly that because no man can intercede for sin He Himself would have to be our Intercessor who brings us salvation from sin. We see the fulfillment of this when the angel told Joseph that another name for the Messiah is, “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” In other words, the Messiah is not a mere man miraculously created by God but He is God who became man. This is why Jesus the Messiah was able to tell people who trusted in Him that their sins were forgiven.
The High Cost for Forgiveness
God’s forgiveness, however, is costly. It was not enough for God to just become man and perform miracles. He would also have to die as the sacrifice for sin in order to make atonement for those who believe in Him. John the Baptist, son of Zechariah, said this about Jesus the Messiah:
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Jesus the Messiah, during the night before His crucifixion prophesied about Himself:
“…this is My blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
The cost of forgiveness is the blood of the perfect sacrifice. Such a sacrifice would have to involve God becoming man because only God can forgive sin yet only as a human could His blood be shed and be subject to death. This is why God’s Word refers to:
“the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28)
Jesus, the Divine Intercessor
Jesus the Messiah, that is, God who became man, presented Himself as the sinless sacrifice for our sins when He died on the cross. It was there His blood was shed. His crucifixion also fulfilled the prophecy which God spoke to the Devil after Adam and Eve sinned that the seed of the woman would be wounded while defeating the Devil. The Messiah’s victory was made complete when He rose from the dead on the third day after His crucifixion. Forty days after His resurrection He ascended to heaven where He lives forever to intercede at the right hand of God the Father for everyone who puts his faith in Him.
Are You Relying on Jesus Christ’s Intercession?
What about you? Are you trusting in Jesus Christ, the eternal, unique Son of God, to save you from your sins? Do you enjoy a relationship with God as your heavenly Father? Has God come to live in your heart by His Holy Spirit? Would you like the assurance that your sins are forgiven, that you are a friend of God and one of His children?
How to Rely on Jesus Christ’s Intercession
God’s Word says,
“whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13)
If you will call on the name of the Lord Jesus the Messiah, you will be saved from your sins. You will become a friend of God and one of his children.
The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah are established facts of history regardless of what anyone says to the contrary. God did this in order to become both the sacrifice and Intercessor for our sins. If you are truly convinced of your sinfulness and your need for Jesus Christ’s intercession, confess your sins to Him, repent of them, and call on the Name of Jesus to save you. God’s Word instructs us how to become believers in and followers of Jesus the Messiah:
“Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ [i.e. Jesus the Messiah] for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.’ And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, ‘Be saved from this perverse generation!’ So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” (Acts 2:37-42)
“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
“‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…'” (Acts 16:30-31)