Our Perfect Redeemer Image

At the end of the eighth chapter of the book of Job, Bildad attempts to offer the suffering servant of God some hope: “Behold, God will not reject a blameless man, nor take the hand of evildoers” (Job 8:20). Bildad was suggesting that Job could take steps to become blameless before God, but Job refuted Bildad’s theology with a very important question:

“But how can a man be in the right before God?” (Job 9:2b)


Job understood the truth that the Apostle Paul would later pen to the Romans:

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one […] for by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:10-12, 20)

Our sin separates us from God. Every man owes God a debt of righteousness, and the righteous law of God reveals to us this truth. But the law cannot redeem us to God because we cannot fulfill the law. We need help from outside ourselves to reconcile us back to God, and thankfully, the Apostle Paul tells us where our help comes from:

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:21-25a)

Jesus Christ is our perfect redeemer. This is the true meaning, and joy, of Christmas: that God manifested His righteousness in Jesus, and salvation is available to all who believe in Him through faith. While the world looks forward to temporary happiness and joy from material gifts and possessions, we as Christians look forward to eternal happiness and righteousness given to us through Jesus Christ. No wonder the angel told the shepherds:

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”” (Luke 2:10-12)

We will look at verse 12 in more detail later. For now, our focus will be upon one word: Christ. The word in the Greek is Christos (khris-tos’), and it means “the Anointed One” — its counterpart in Hebrew is “Messiah.” When we say Jesus Christ, what we are saying is Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One. But what does it mean to be the Anointed One?

In the Old Testament, to be anointed meant you were set apart for a specific spiritual duty. To be anointed by God was a divine calling, and not something you could volunteer or sign up for. There were certain people in the kingdom of Israel who had a responsibility to God to act, or mediate, between God and His people. There were three specific offices where people were anointed by God in the Kingdom of Israel: kings, priests, and prophets. Kings were anointed by God to rule, priests were anointed by God to intercede and mediate, and prophets were anointed by God to preach and proclaim the truth. Looking at the Old Testament, we know there were many different kings, priests, and prophets; all of them are considered messiahs (emphasis on the lower-case m) because all of them were anointed by God.

One other fact we can observe is that none of these Old Testament messiahs were ever referred to as “Savior” or as “Lord” or as “the Messiah.” This is why the angel’s message to the shepherds is so amazing and profound:

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ (Messiah) the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

The angel declares that Jesus is Lord, Savior, and Messiah (emphasis on upper-case M). The angel declares that Jesus is the Anointed One, divinely chosen by God. As John MacArthur explains it,

“He is presented in the New Testament as the consummate, comprehensive Anointed One, who sums up all that a king could be, all that a priest could be, and all that a prophet could be. And at the same time, He is the one and only Lord and Savior of the world.”[1]

Only Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, because only Jesus can occupy all three anointed offices. As the angel declared in Luke 2, this is the reason every Christian has good news and great joy every time we celebrate Christmas. We can put our faith in Jesus because He is the Messiah. He rules for God as king. He brings men to God as our faithful high priest. He brings the truth of God to men as our prophet.

Again, MacArthur sums this truth up well:

“One writer puts it this way: ‘A prophet, a priest, and a king are essential needs for man whose sin necessarily separates him from God and precludes him from approaching God on his own. With the Fall came a tragic and drastic change in man and his relationship with the Lord. Iniquity separated man from God and sin hid God’s face from man. When man fell, he lost the knowledge of God that must be renewed if a man is to be saved from sin. So, man needs a prophet to reveal God. When man fell he lost the righteousness and holiness in which he was created. So, man needs a priest to reconcile him to God. When man fell, he became prey to the enemy of his soul who had power to hold him subject to bondage. Man needs a king to reign, to subdue every enemy of his soul. What man needed, God in His wondrous and amazing grace provided in the person of His own Son, His and our Messiah.’… All that the sinner needs is the Anointed One; one person fulfills all offices. So, in the Old Testament there were many messiahs; there were many anointed; they were chosen; they had authority; they had power; but none was the saving Mediator; none was the Redeemer—only the Lord Jesus Christ.”[2]

Jesus was born to reconcile men to God. This Christmas, let us remember that God in His righteousness provided for us a perfect redeemer. One who revealed God to us as our perfect prophet, who provides atonement and intercedes for us as our perfect priest, and who has conquered sin and death as our perfect king. Next time, we will look at how Christ fulfilled the office of priest, and why He had to be born as a man.

[1] https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/81-1/~/about; John MacArthur sermon titled “Not a Messiah-THE Messiah” October 23, 2016

[2] https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/80-400/we-have-found-the-messiah; John MacArthur sermon titled “We Have Found the Messiah” December 02, 2012