Matthew’s account of the Gospel reaches a turning point when Jesus asks His disciples, “…who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (16:16), and Jesus blesses him.
You do not need to dig very deep into any one of the four gospel accounts to find Jesus being identified as “the Christ” (See Matt. 1:1, Mark 1:1, Luke 2:11, John 1:17). The term is found 535 times in the New Testament: 524 times with reference to Jesus. Nine times it is used in the possessive sense—“Christ’s”; two times with reference to “christs,” plural, as in false christs.
A major theme in the Old Testament is of God ruling as King. Psalm 29 is a psalm of praise calling readers to ascribe to the Lord glory and strength, and to worship Him in the splendor of holiness. The emphasis in the song is on the “voice of YHWH.” It ends thus: “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever. May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!” (Ps. 29:10-11). The notion of God reigning as King over His creation is not uncommon. (See also Exo. 15:11, 18, 21).
The emphasis in all four accounts of the Gospel is that God has come to rule through His Son, Jesus. I encourage you to read any one, or all four, of the accounts to see the emphasis yourself.
Lord and Christ
All of Peter’s main points in the sermon recorded in Acts 2 center on Jesus. He was “attested to you by God (v 22) …delivered up (v 23) …crucified (v 23) …killed (v 23) …raised up (v 24).… exalted (v 33) …ascended into the heavens” (v 34). Peter then concludes, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (v 36).
What does it mean to say that Jesus is “Christ”? The term “Christ” is like the Hebrew word for “Messiah.” It means “anointed one.” But, to what purpose was Jesus anointed? He was anointed to be King. The message of all four accounts is that God is reigning as King once again through His Son. This is the good news! (See Isaiah 52:7).
Josephus writes about a band of Jews who took for their motto: “No King but God.” Not all Jews adopted the motto, in particular, when it did not serve their purpose. If you will recall, during the trial of Jesus, the chief priests said, “We have no king but Caesar” (Jn 19:15)—their mistake.
In Acts 2, Peter declares that Jesus is now seated on David’s throne (see Acts 2:30f). And, if Jesus is seated on David’s throne, then the kingdom has been established.
Why do the nations rage?
So, if Jesus is on His throne, why is the world not submitting to His rule? Psalm 2 addresses this question,
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us” (Ps 2:1-3)
This sounds like a description of human history from the enthronement of our Lord to the present day. He is ruling and reigning, but only a few live in recognition of the fact. They are the called out.
How does the Lord react to such treason?
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill” (Psalm 2:4-6)
Listen to the advice given to the derisive rulers of the world:
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:10-12).
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15).