What is Christ?
“Christ” isn’t the last name of Jesus, but it is a title. It means “anointed one”, just the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. But having some guy with oil on his head isn’t what the world needs. Instead, the “Christ” is actually the emperor of God, the ruler of the world. The Christ is like a Roman Caesar or a Napoleon. Someone who takes over the world by force and then rules over a central part of the world, and, by extension and treaty, provides peace to the rest of the world. Other terms that are used both in the Bible and in the pagan world for an Emperor are: Son of God, Alpha and Omega, Father (or Pope), and Lord.
The New Testament claims that Jesus is the fulfillment of this role, appointed by God at his baptism and approved by God through his resurrection. But the promise becomes crystallized at Jesus’ birth, where the promise of the Son of God, the Christ, is displayed to the poor and lowly of Bethlehem
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7
Why do we need a Christ?
This concept of the kingdom of God is exactly what Jesus was speaking about. But why do we need a ruler like this? Hasn’t it been proven that dictators are a bad idea? Shouldn’t we learn to rule ourselves? Well, anarchy has been attempted and all it does is lead to injustice and chaos. But why a Christ? According to the Old Testament, there are some very good reasons why we should have an Emperor of God:
So the world can acknowledge God as the true ruler
God is the Creator of the world, the King of the universe. Yet most of the world did not acknowledge him as God or properly give God his due. Instead, they saw other gods, who assisted them with their petty lives, as being more worthy of their devotion and sacrifice. But with the Christ ruling the world, then God will be given his proper due and praise and thanks will be offered to Him by all the world.
And He will delight in the fear of the LORD… For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:3,9
To destroy the injustices of secular empires
The rulership of the world has passed on from one empire to another from the ancient days to today. And not a single empire has ruled with justice or with equity. There is always an elite, who reap the benefits of the empire, and a servant class on whose backs the empire is built. The rulers always ignore the rule of God and establish their own rule according to their own principles. But the new kingdom will be built upon justice and righteousness, and set aside the old empires with their injustices.
In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Daniel 2:44 And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. Isaiah 11:5
To take us out of the system of judgment
For all governments of the world, if you do wrong, there is a penalty. Do the crime, pay the time. This is a system of judgment, and it was established by God. However, this is not the only system of dealing with lawbreakers that God had established. Jesus’ system is that of repentance and release. In other words, give a person the opportunity to make their crime right and to turn from their ways and then just welcome them back. Jesus as the Christ does not do away with the system of judgment, but he gives us an opportunity to escape it. This is done through his death, where his new system of dealing with crime is the judicial basis of his kingdom, established by his death and resurrection.
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11
For the poor to be heard
In every system of government that has ever existed there is a lower class for whom there is no justice. This group is always assumed to be the criminals, they are feared and hated and accused of the most terrible crimes. Should one of this group do something wrong, then they are all punished. But the Christ will listen to the poor and acknowledge their actions. He will not judge them according to their class, but according to their deeds. And he will love the poor and draw them up to rule with the elite.
With righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth. Isaiah 11:4
For there to be shalom
Only through God’s righteousness and justice will there be an opportunity for the world to run as it should, not only for people, but for all creation. “Shalom” is usually translated “peace”, but it really means a community of well-being, a society where everyone is benefited. The Christ brings this peace to all who can enter into his kingdom.
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them… And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain. Isaiah 11:6-9
This is the promise of Christmas, “Peace on earth for those favored.” Christmas isn’t just about the incarnation—God coming to earth—as important as that is. It is about the fulfillment of the hope of the Christ that God’s people have been waiting for. It is the coming of the Emperor of God, who rules today from heaven and will rule on earth when he returns.
We can participate in his kingdom today. We don’t need to wait until he returns. In fact, he doesn’t want us to. Jesus is ruling at the right hand of God and wants us to turn our lives over to him so we can live in his justice and peace right now. If we commit our lives to his rule and get baptized in his name then we will begin living in a different kingdom, under the best ruler of the world that has ever existed, free from our wrongs and living in peace.