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On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States. This was a victory some had hoped and prayed for a long time. After over 200 years filled with suffering and waiting, the United States of America finally had a black man in its highest office.

The Jewish people also knew what it was like to wait for a king. Thousands and thousands of years before Jesus walked on earth, God first made a promise about this One who would come. Speaking to a cursed serpent in a fallen paradise, God said: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).

The rest of the Old Testament is pointing to this Promised One that the Jewish people eventually called the Messiah. Consider just a few examples:

  • Genesis 12:3—He would come from Abraham’s family and would bless all the nations on earth.
  • Genesis 49:10—He would come from the tribe of Judah.
  • 2 Samuel 7:12—He would be a descendent of David.
  • Isaiah 7:14—He would be born of a virgin.
  • Micah 5:2—He would be born in Bethlehem.
  • Deuteronomy 18:15—He would be a “prophet like Moses” and we better listen to what He has to say.
  • Zechariah 9:9-10—He would celebrated as He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.
  • Psalm 22:16-18—His enemies would pierce his hands and his feet and cast lots for his clothing.
  • Isaiah 53:5—He would be pierced for our transgression and crushed for our iniquities.
  • Zechariah 12:10—people would look on the one they pierced and find cleaning from their sin.
  • Isaiah 53:9—He would die among the wicked but be buried with the rich.
  • Psalm 16:10—He would be resurrected from the grave, for God would not allow His Holy One to suffer decay.

Those are just a handful out of hundreds of references to this long-awaited king. And a reformed tax-collector named Matthew tells us who this long-awaited king is: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ” (Matthew 1:1).

Now the name “Christ” isn’t Jesus’ last name, it’s a title. Like “William the Conqueror” or “Alexander the Great.” The word Christ literally means “anointed one,” and it was the common Jewish title for the long-awaited Messiah.

Although the Jewish people didn’t always understand this, when the prophets talked about the long-awaited Messiah, they were talking about God Himself. For example, Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” The coming Messiah would be none other than God Himself!

Peter understood this when Jesus asked Peter who he thought Jesus was...

Matthew 16:13-17—Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Jesus is the long-awaited king. He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. No wonder when Matthew gets to Jesus’ name in the genealogy, he totally changes the format. Up to that point it’s been “so-and-so was the father of what’s-his-name” and on and on. Until Matthew 1:16, where Matthew writes: “and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.

Joseph isn’t called the father of Jesus, but “the husband of Mary.” Why? Because even though Jesus can claim Joseph’s bloodline through adoption, not a trace of Joseph’s DNA would have been found in Jesus’ body. His conception was brought about miraculously, through the Holy Spirit’s overshadowing of a virgin womb.

The genealogy in Matthew hints that Jesus is the long-awaited king, He’s the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. But who do you say this Jesus is? Few press the issue here better than C.S. Lewis:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. [1]    


[1]C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, First HarperCollins Edition (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), 52.