The English word 'Messiah' comes from the Hebrew word 'Moshiach', which means 'Anointed One' - in other words someone who has been especially chosen by God.

In several religions anointing with oil is a way of making something holy and dedicating it to God. In Jewish history their kings (e.g. David, Solomon) were anointed with oil to bless their leadership - so Messiah also means 'King'. Indeed the Queen was anointed at her coronation in 1953.

Greek was an international language used by many people in and around first century Palestine. The earliest Christians travelling and spreading their Good News about Jesus used Greek and the Christian New Testament scriptures were written in Greek.

The Greek word for 'Anointed One' is 'Christos', which is where we get the English word 'Christ'.


So the words Messiah and Christ both mean the same thing: 'Anointed One' or 'King' - this is why Christians refer to Jesus as 'King of the Jews' and when they call him 'Jesus Christ' they mean Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Anointed One or Jesus the King (so it's not a surname - as in son of Mr. & Mrs. Christ!).

You can now see where the name Christian comes from - someone who believes that Jesus was the Christ, God's anointed Messiah or King. (Initially it was just a nickname used by non-Christians, which stuck. Later it was adopted by Christians themselves.)

© Mr.B at Farcaster Communications