Who is the Messiah?
Jesus fulfilled the ancient biblical promise of a wounded victor who would rescue humanity. He was the one who overcame evil itself by allowing it to destroy him.
In the very beginning of the Bible, we see Adam and Eve living with God in the Garden of Eden. Though the Garden is perfect, evil still exists. The evil in the Garden of Eden existed in the form of a snake who tricked Adam and Eve into disobeying God's commands.
It was a fatal mistake on the part of Adam and Eve, and one that would lead to the world in a downward spiral of sin. It is after the rebellion, though, we see God make one of His first promises, thus putting into action the grand plan that would eventually save all mankind once again. Here, God promises someday, someone would come bash the head of the snake who brought evil into the world, but not before the snake is able to strike this person's heel. It's a beautiful, albeit confusing, promise left with no further explanation until later in the story, when God makes another promise to a man named Abraham.
God promises Abraham that through his descendants, goodness and blessing will be brought back into the world. To one of these descendants, a man named Judah, God promises a great king will come from his line and this king will be the one who destroys evil and fulfills the promise God made to Abraham.**
Yet one by one, the kings of Israel fall well short of destroying evil. In fact, evil destroys them. The Old Testament ends, and still, no such king as was promised has come.
In the very beginning of the New Testament, though, we are introduced to the king who will fulfill the promises of God—the Messiah Jesus.
So, what does Messiah mean? To the Israelites, the Messiah referred to the king God had promised would defeat evil and bring goodness back to the world, and they had been looking for this king for a very long time. By coming from the line of David and Judah and by combating evil throughout the world, Jesus fulfilled every definition of the Messiah meaning that the Israelites had been looking for. Yet most of the Jews didn't realize that Jesus was the Messiah. Consumed by the evil Jesus came to destroy, they killed their only savior and the Son of God Himself.
It seems like a tragic ending to the story, but it fulfills the promise that God made all the way back in the Garden of Eden. Evil had struck the Messiah's heel, but the Messiah Jesus would still crush Evil's head. By rising from the tomb, Jesus gained the ultimate power over death and evil and gave His followers power over death and evil as well, dealing Satan a fatal blow.
Today, Messiah Christianity still prevails. Like the ancient Israelites, we too must now wait for Christ's return before we can truly celebrate the victory over evil. Nevertheless, the battle has already been won—just as God promised it would be.
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