Christ is not Jesus’ last name. There is no mailbox in front of a quaint Nazareth home announcing this is where the Christ family lives. The meaning of Christ is drawn from the Old Testament theme of a God-sent Messiah who would come to enact ultimate deliverance. So, when Peter states his conviction that Jesus is indeed the Christ, he is confessing his belief that Jesus is God’s special Anointed One. Peter has come to the dramatic conclusion that Jesus is none other than God’s Messiah who is on a mission of massive importance.

The term Christ means “anointed one.” In the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, the word Christ is used to translate into Greek the Hebrew messiah, meaning anointed or chosen. The Old Testament air is heavy with anticipation of a coming Messiah who would bring triumphant deliverance to God’s people. This Savior will have special favor bestowed upon Him from God and divine empowerment. Just as God-chosen prophets and kings, like Isaiah and David, were anointed for special service, God will similarly raise up an Anointed One who will have a unique portion of God’s Spirit.

Peter recognizes this about Jesus. He understands that Jesus is indeed God’s chosen means to enact salvation. When Jesus asks what “the word on the street” is about Him and if people have an accurate glimpse of His true identity, He receives a garbled response (Matthew 16:13-15). Others may have been confused about who Jesus is: “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets” (Matthew 16:14). But Peter confidently declares, “You are the Christ!”

How’s our understanding of who Jesus is? Christ is a title not a name. It is a title earned and worn by Jesus based upon His status, position, and identity. He is God’s Anointed One and He came with a mission to save.

Today, I will…confess anew the name of Jesus and declare along with Peter that indeed He is the Christ, the Son of the living God! May God help me to understand more accurately who Jesus is and what He means to me in my life.