The Christ, the King

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"Christ" is not Jesus' name, but his office. It is exactly like our word, "president." We may speak of President Obama, but "President" is his office, not his name. We may also talk about Obama, the President of the United States. You will find Scriptures that talk about "Jesus, the Christ," "Jesus Christ," or "Christ Jesus." The proclamation that "Jesus is the Christ" was so often on the lips of the apostles that it became the name of the new Jewish sect: "Christianity" (Acts 11:26).

"Christ" is the English transliteration of the Greek word, "christos," which means "anointed one" in English.

"Christ" was the word chosen by the rabbis when they translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.

The original Hebrew word for "the one anointed as King or as high priest" was "Messiah."

Neither "Messiah" nor its translation as "Christ" meant "God", "Savior", or "Lord". It meant a human being who was chosen by God to lead his People.

Today, when Christians say "Christ," we mean nothing but "Jesus" and the word has come to mean everything that we believe about Jesus: He is true God and true Man, the Savior of the whole world, love, light, life, truth, the Way, the Bread of Life, etc. This is not the original meaning of the word in the Jewish scriptures nor in most of the New Testaments scriptures. If we use the modern meaning of Christ, we will systematically misunderstand what the scriptures meant in their original context.

See "The Trouble with Christ" for a longer exposition of this same idea.

Unlike Saul, David, the Kings of Israel, the Kings of Judah, or the high priest in the Temple, Jesus was not anointed with oil. "The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf. Ps 2:6-7)."[1] At His baptism, the Father Himself "anointed" (christened!) Jesus with the Holy Spirit, the reality that had been symbolized by the oils used in Old Testament anointings.

Old Testament

New Testament

Acts 10:38
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.


Christ Jesus
The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father's Spirit since his Incarnation - Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.
Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light. Christ's whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord.
Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that his own flesh will be food for the life of the world.[2] He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus,[3] to the Samaritan woman,[4] and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles.[5] To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer[6] and with the witness they will have to bear.[7]
Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the promise made to the fathers.[8] The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus' prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus' name; and Jesus will send him from the Father's side, since he comes from the Father. The Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. The Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
At last Jesus' hour arrives:[9] he commends his spirit into the Father's hands[10] at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,"[11] he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples.[12] From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."[13]


  1. CCC #745.
  2. Cf. Jn 6:27,51,62-63.
  3. Cf. Jn 3:5-8.
  4. Cf. Jn 4:10,14,23-24.
  5. Cf. Jn 7:37-39.
  6. Cf. Lk 11:13.
  7. Cf. Mt 10:19-20.
  8. Cf. Jn 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:26.
  9. Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
  10. Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.
  11. Rom 6:4.
  12. Cf. Jn 20:22.
  13. Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.