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From the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic “Messiah,” “Anointed One.” Most first-century Jews anticipated the advent of a great King through whom the kingdom of God would come. This eschatological use of the term is rare in the OT (probably in Dan. 9:24-26 only), although the idea is much more frequent. Jesus used the term sparingly, probably because of its political and militarist associations for His contemporaries. He welcomed it from Peter (Matt. 16:13-17), however, and accepted it from the high priest when He was, humanly speaking, a helpless prisoner without any possible political future (Mark 14:61f.). As a distinctively Jewish term its use as a title receded somewhat, once the Gentile mission was under way, and it tended to become a name. The view that Jesus did not see Himself in any sense as the Messiah cannot be substantiated unless the gospels are subjected to historical skepticism.

See also

  • Jesus Christ