The First One Anointed with Holy Spirit and Power
1, 2. (a) The promised Messiah was to be anointed by whom and with what? (b) What prophecy of Isaiah was he to quote and apply to himself?
KINGS and high priests of ancient Israel were anointed to office by the pouring of official oil upon the head. Was the promised Messiah to be anointed in that way? No! The genuine Messiah was to be one whom God would anoint “with holy spirit and power.” (Acts 10:38) He would be the one who was authorized to quote and apply to himself the prophetic words of Isaiah 61:1-3:
2 “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me, for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive and the wide opening of the eyes even to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God; to comfort all the mourning ones; to assign to those mourning over Zion, to give them a headdress instead of ashes, the oil of exultation instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of the downhearted spirit; and they must be called big trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, for him to be beautified.”
3. Why did men of earlier times toward whom God’s spirit became active not prove to be the promised Messiah?
3 Men of earlier times had God’s spirit envelop them or become operative upon them or were filled with it. But they were never anointed with it. Hence they did not prove to be the longed-for Messiah. This was true even of John the Baptizer, of whom the angel Gabriel had said to his father, priest Zechariah: “He will be filled with holy spirit right from his mother’s womb.”—Luke 1:15.
4. What did John the Baptizer, although filled with holy spirit from his mother’s womb, confess about the Christ?
4 Priests and Levites were sent from Jerusalem to have John himself tell them who he was officially because of the work that he was doing. How did John react? “He confessed and did not deny, but confessed: ‘I am not the Christ.’ And they asked him: ‘What, then? Are you Elijah?’ And he said: ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you The Prophet?’ And he answered: ‘No!’ Therefore they said to him: ‘Who are you? that we may give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said: ‘I am a voice of someone crying out in the wilderness, “Make the way of Jehovah straight,” just as Isaiah the prophet said.’”—John 1:19-23; Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 4:5, 6; Deuteronomy 18:15-19.
5, 6. (a) What did God send John to do with reference to the Christ? (b) How did John contrast himself with the true Messiah or Christ?
5 Thus John, although filled with holy spirit, denied that he was the Promised One anointed with God’s spirit. He did not try to be a false Christ, but confessed to being merely the forerunner of the true Christ or Messiah. In fact, God sent him to baptize the true Christ or Messiah in water.—John 1:29-34.
6 Further testifying to John’s honesty in the matter is the record in Luke 3:15-17: “Now as the people were in expectation and all were reasoning in their hearts about John: ‘May he perhaps be the Christ?’ John gave the answer, saying to all: ‘I, for my part, baptize you with water; but the one stronger than I am is coming, the lace of whose sandals I am not fit to untie. He will baptize you people with holy spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in his hand to clean up his threshing floor completely and to gather the wheat into his storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.’”
7. Why would one’s being baptized with fire be less desirable than one’s being baptized with spirit?
7 John’s words made it plain that the Messiah would not only be baptized or anointed with God’s spirit but also be able to baptize others with holy spirit. Far better would it be for a person to be baptized with holy spirit than to be baptized with fire that would destroy a person just like worthless chaff that is destroyed in a fire that is not put out until the chaff is all consumed.—Matthew 3:7-12.
8. Why were the people then in expectation of Messiah’s appearance, and why was the matter urgent for them?
8 Not strange that “the people were in expectation.” Likely they had figured out from the Scriptures that the time was due for the Messiah to appear. So they fell to reasoning on whether John the Baptizer was the promised Messiah or not. (Daniel 9:24-27) The matter of the Messiah or Christ was an urgent one. God, the Sender of the Messiah, was not dragging out the time indefinitely. He had determined upon sending the Messiah, and he had a marked time for putting his determination into effect. He is no procrastinator, but he holds to his time schedule as given in his Word.
9. How does Galatians 4:4, 5 show that God is no procrastinator?
9 Galatians 4:4, 5 says: “When the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons.”
10. From where did God send his Son on time, and to come out of a woman of what nationality?
10 The apostle Paul, the writer of those words, had considerable to say about times and seasons in God’s arrangements. He says that the Son of God was to be a releaser of the Jews by means of a purchase. For this reason he was to be their Messiah, the Christ. From where did God send him? Why, from heaven, where this “only-begotten Son” had been ever since God created him long, long ago. His coming to be “under law” meant that he was born as a Jew, an Israelite, a member of the nation that was in the Law covenant with Jehovah for which Moses had been the mediator. So the woman out of whom the Son of God came to be had to be a Jewess, herself under the Mosaic law.—Galatians 3:19-25.
11. In view of difference in locations of God’s Son and the woman, what was necessary in order for the Son to become the Messiah?
11 A miracle had to take place, which only God the Almighty could perform. His “firstborn” Son, the Word or Logos, was up in heaven as a mighty spirit person, whereas the woman, out of whom he had to come if he wanted to be the Messiah, was down here on earth. The Son could not, as he was, get into the womb of this Jewish woman. What, then? Well, the Son had to empty himself of everything that he was while being “in God’s form.” He had to have his life transferred from the invisible heavens to the woman’s womb. Thus he would come to be born “in the likeness of men.” This required God’s Son to humble himself greatly. (Philippians 2:5-8) But the Son was willing to do this out of love for his Father and for the purpose of serving his heavenly Father’s aims.
12. Who was the “woman” whom God picked, and why did the Messiah have to be her “firstborn”?
12 How did the heavenly Father perform this miracle? By what means? It involved a “woman.” Many Israelite women, particularly those of the tribe of Judah, may have wanted to be the mother of the promised Messiah. But it was not their prerogative to choose for themselves to be the Messiah’s mother. The heavenly Father of the Messiah was the only One who could do the choosing in this case. He did so. The woman whom he picked was an unmarried “maiden.” (Isaiah 7:14) If she had already been married and had had children, this would have raised questions as to fatherhood and inheritance and rights. So the “maiden” whom God picked proved to be a “virgin.” (Matthew 1:22, 23) The birth of God’s “firstborn” as a perfect man of blood and flesh needed correspondingly to be a birth of the woman’s “firstborn” also.—Colossians 1:15; John 3:16, 17.
13. Whom did God send Gabriel to on a second errand, and how did Gabriel make himself visible to her?
13 The woman chosen needed to be also a descendant of King David the son of Jesse. In such a relationship to King David, the woman could confer upon her firstborn son a natural right with regard to David’s kingdom over the twelve tribes of the “house of Jacob” (Israel). Appropriately, the woman chosen had been born in “David’s city,” the city of Bethlehem, in the province of Judah. (Luke 2:11) But at the time that God made known to the woman that he was going to favor her highly, she was living in the Galilean town of Nazareth. About six months before this, God had sent the angel Gabriel to announce to priest Zechariah the coming birth of a son to be named John, and fittingly God now sent Gabriel to the future mother of the Messiah whom John was to introduce. The woman was the Jewish virgin named Mary, the daughter of Heli of the royal line of David. Gabriel materialized in human form to appear to Mary. His greeting startled Mary. Why did this sudden visitor say that Jehovah was with her? Why with her?
14. What did Gabriel say in explaining to Mary why God was with her?
14 It was because Jehovah had chosen her to become the mother of the glorious Messianic king. So Gabriel said: “Have no fear, Mary, for you have found favor with God; and, look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.”—Luke 1:26-33.
15. What did the angel say was to go into operation upon Mary, and with what effect?
15 How could this happen to an unmarried “maiden,” a “virgin”? This was Mary’s question, and it would have been ours also. So now let us note what was to go into operation upon Mary. “In answer the angel said to her: ‘Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.’”—Luke 1:34, 35.
16. (a) Why was what was born of Mary to be something “holy”? (b) How might Mary have responded to Gabriel, but how did she do so?
16 “Holy spirit” was to go into action, and this would result in the birth of something “holy.” This would be a virgin birth. For God this was not an impossible miracle to perform, for the angel Gabriel concluded by saying to Mary: “With God no declaration will be an impossibility.” (Luke 1:37) How did Mary respond to all of this? She could have said: ‘But, look here! I am already engaged to marry the carpenter Joseph the son of Jacob, of the royal house of David. I am obligated to become the mother of his children. I cannot break my engagement to Joseph. You will just have to excuse me!’ Thus there really did seem to be complications, but God also knew about these. So, in faith, Mary responded to Gabriel: “Look! Jehovah’s slave girl! May it take place with me according to your declaration.”—Luke 1:38.
17. What now happened to God’s “firstborn” Son in heaven, and what was Mary’s fiancé Joseph told to do?
17 Conception on Mary’s part by a miracle of God Almighty was now in order. Suddenly, unknown to Mary on earth, God’s “firstborn” Son disappeared from heaven. His life-force was transferred down to the virgin body of Mary. So, “during the time his mother Mary was promised in marriage to Joseph, she was found to be pregnant by holy spirit before they were united. However, Joseph her husband, because he was righteous and did not want to make her a public spectacle, intended to divorce her secretly. But after he had thought these things over, look! Jehovah’s angel appeared to him in a dream, saying: ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home, for that which has been begotten in her is by holy spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you must call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’”—Matthew 1:18-21.
18. Whose son really was Jesus, and how was his name prophetic?
18 The name Jesus was prophetic. It is the shortened form of Jehoshua, meaning “Jehovah Is Salvation.” Appropriately, the bearer of this name was to “save his people from their sins.” He was to be, not Joseph’s son, but “God’s Son,” as Gabriel said.
19. Why was Mary’s son Jesus not a new Son of God, and why was he not “God incarnate” or “a God-man”?
19 Mary’s miraculous firstborn son was not to be a new Son of God, but was in fact the already long-existing Son of God whose life was transferred from heaven to earth through Mary as a human mother. Logically, he could not be called what many religionists of Christendom call him, “God incarnate,” an expression not to be found in the inspired Bible. In heaven God’s “firstborn” Son had borne the title the Word (or, Logos). Hence, in John 1:14, we read: “So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father.” The clergy of Christendom are wrong in calling him “a God-man,” for, in 1 Timothy 2:5, 6, he is called “a man, Christ Jesus.” He never claimed to be, and he could not claim to be, the Most High God.—John 20:31; Luke 1:32.
ANOINTED BY WHOM AND WITH WHAT?
20. Where was Mary’s firstborn son born, and why?
20 During the reign of Caesar Augustus, emperor of the pagan Roman Empire, Jesus was born in Bethlehem-Judah, to fulfill the prophecy of Micah 5:2. This was in the early autumn of the year 2 before our Common Era. While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem for registration purposes, “she gave birth to her son, the firstborn, and she bound him with cloth bands and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the lodging room.”—Luke 2:7.
21. Who were made earthly eyewitnesses on the night of Jesus’ birth, and how?
21 The Messiah-to-be had come! That was the thrilling news that a glorious angel of God announced to shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night out in the fields near Bethlehem. “The angel said to them: ‘Have no fear, for, look! I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Although the newborn Jesus in the manger in Bethlehem was not aware of it, “suddenly there came to be with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: ‘Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.’” Then the informed shepherds went looking for the babe in the manger and found him, and thus they were rewarded with becoming eyewitnesses of the birth of Jesus that momentous night.—Luke 2:8-20.
22. When was it that Jesus became what the angel called him, “Christ the Lord,” and how?
22 When did this Jesus become actually “Christ the Lord”? Not on the eighth day of his birth, when he was circumcised. He was not anointed on that day. It was when he was thirty years old. He went to John the Baptizer, who was then baptizing at the Jordan River. He did not ask John to anoint him with any official oil to be the Messianic king over all twelve tribes of Israel. He asked to be baptized in water, as many other Jews had done during the months of John’s public activity. “Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus also was baptized and, as he was praying, the heaven was opened up and the holy spirit in bodily shape like a dove came down upon him, and a voice came out of heaven: ‘You are my Son, the beloved; I have approved you.’”—Luke 3:21-23.
23. How did John the Baptizer bear witness as regards how Jesus was made to be Christ?
23 Afterward the prophet John bore witness of this to disciples of his, to whom he said: “Even I did not know him, but the very One who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘Whoever it is upon whom you see the spirit coming down and remaining, this is the one that baptizes in holy spirit.’ And I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.”—John 1:33, 34.
24. Whom did Andrew tell his brother that he had found, and what acknowledgment did Nathanael make of Jesus?
24 Some forty days after Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, John called the attention of two of his disciples to Jesus. They followed Jesus and accepted Bible instruction from him. Overwhelmed with joy at his marvelous find, one of them, Andrew, found his brother named Peter and said to him: “‘We have found the Messiah’ (which means, when translated, Christ).” A little later a man named Nathanael was brought to Jesus. After listening to Jesus, Nathanael said to him: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are King of Israel.” This was, in effect, a confirmation by Nathanael that the anointed Jesus was the Messiah, the Christ.—John 1:35-49.
A SPIRITUAL MESSIAH OR CHRIST
25. In spite of John’s baptism being for sinners, why did Jesus get baptized by him?
25 Since Jesus when on earth was a purely human Son of God and had no sins over which to repent, why did he get immersed by a man who was preaching the baptism of repentance and for the forgiveness of sins? He did so for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy of Psalm 40:6-8. His baptism in water symbolized the full presentation of himself “to do your will, O God,” as that will would thenceforth be revealed to him. (Hebrews 10:5-10) That divine will would direct him as to how to act as the Messiah or Christ.
26. What God’s voice was heard saying from heaven marked what change in Jesus’ life, and why was this necessary for him?
26 As Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, God’s voice was heard from heaven, saying: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.” (Matthew 3:17) This marked a change in Jesus’ life. In what way? God’s declaration meant that he had now begotten the thirty-year-old Jesus to be a spiritual Son of God. Thus the way was opened up for this Son of God to return to heaven. This was necessary even for Jesus. It was just as he later explained to the Jewish ruler Nicodemus, saying: “Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Unless anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the spirit is spirit. Do not marvel because I told you, You people must be born again.”—John 3:3-7.
27. God’s announcement from heaven regarding his Son indicated what with reference to Jesus, and how did Jesus’ relationship to Mary now change?
27 By the declaration made from heaven Jehovah God announced that he had brought forth a spiritual Son having the prospect of entering into the heavenly kingdom of God. Mary, the mother of what was flesh, was not the mother of this spiritual Son of God, and thereafter Jesus is never reported as addressing her as “mother.” Accordingly Jesus is spoken of as “the One born from God” who keeps watch over his disciples, his followers. For instance, in 1 John 5:18 we read: “The begotten Son of God protects him, and the Evil One does not touch him.” (The Jerusalem Bible) “It is the Son of God who keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot touch him.” (The New English Bible) So Jesus’ relationship toward his earthly mother, Mary, changed. Henceforth he devoted himself to spiritual things, not to carpentering in Mary’s town of Nazareth.
28. Jesus was thus anointed to be what kind of Messiah, and to reign from where?
28 Upon the spiritual Son of God, who had just been brought forth, God’s holy spirit descended, to anoint him as the Messiah or Christ. He was to be mightier than a mere human Messiah of flesh and blood. He was to be a spiritual Messiah, who would eventually reign in the heavenly kingdom of God. At the ascension of this Messiah to heaven the “throne of David his father” would be exalted to heaven. So it has to be from a heavenly throne that “he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever.”—Luke 1:32, 33.
29. What title could Jesus as the Anointed One have attached to his name, and with what was it that he was anointed?
29 After being anointed with God’s holy spirit at the Jordan River, Jesus could have attached to his name the title Messiah or Christ, and rightly he became called Jesus the Messiah or Jesus Christ. Months later, when Jesus was on his way back to Galilee, a Samaritan woman said to him: “I know that Messiah is coming, who is called Christ. Whenever that one arrives, he will declare all things to us openly.” Then Jesus quietly said to her: “I who am speaking to you am he.” (John 4:25, 26) As Messiah or Christ, Jesus was anointed, not with official oil poured upon his head, but with something that only God could pour out upon him as a spiritual Son. With what, then? The apostle Peter answers: “God anointed him with holy spirit and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil.”—Acts 10:38.
30. As in David’s case, how was Jesus affected immediately after his anointing, and why did he not lose holy spirit?
30 Here we recall that, after the shepherd boy David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel, God’s active force became operative upon him to his doing notable things. Just so when Jesus became anointed from heaven, by God. Luke 4:1, 2 testifies: “Now Jesus, full of holy spirit, turned away from the Jordan, and he was led about by the spirit in the wilderness for forty days, while being tempted by the Devil.” Mark 1:12 says: “Immediately the spirit impelled him to go into the wilderness.” Happily, because of Jesus’ faithfulness in the wilderness under test by the Devil, he did not lose holy spirit; he did not cease to be Messiah or Christ. He proved true to what his water baptism symbolized.
31. After John’s imprisonment, Jesus returned to Galilee under what power, and what did he do there?
31 In the year 30 C.E. John the Baptizer, Jesus’ forerunner, was imprisoned by Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee. So Jesus left Judea and passed through Samaria and returned to Galilee. Here Jesus applied to himself the Scriptures by means of which he could be identified as the Messiah or Christ. (Matthew 4:12-17) “Now Jesus returned in the power of the spirit into Galilee. And good talk concerning him spread out through all the surrounding country. Also, he began to teach in their synagogues, being held in honor by all.” (Luke 4:14, 15) God’s anointing upon him helped him as he taught the people the Holy Scriptures.
32. In the Nazareth synagogue, what prophecy of Isaiah did Jesus read aloud, and what was his comment thereon?
32 In the synagogue of his hometown Nazareth, Jesus called attention to the fact that he had been anointed by God in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-3 as regards the Messiah. About this we read in Luke 4:16-21, as follows:
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been reared; and, according to his custom on the sabbath day, he entered into the synagogue, and he stood up to read. So the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.’ With that he rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were intently fixed upon him. Then he started to say to them: ‘Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.’”
33. The “good news” that Jesus was commissioned to declare was about what, and to what extent was he sent to declare it?
33 What a beautiful course Isaiah’s prophecy foretold for Jehovah’s Anointed One! How graciously Jehovah’s active force with which he was anointed was to operate through him! All through the remaining three years of his Messianic service on earth he lovingly carried out that prophetic commission from God. The “good news” that he declared to the poor was the message of God’s Messianic kingdom. To a spiritually hungry crowd who wanted to detain him he said: “Also to other cities I must declare the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this I was sent forth.”—Luke 4:43.
34. Who accompanied Jesus when he went preaching from place to place?
34 The later record tells us: “Shortly afterwards he went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve [apostles] were with him, and certain women that had been cured of wicked spirits and sicknesses, Mary the so-called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had come out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s man in charge, and Susanna and many other women, who were ministering to them from their belongings.” Despite the hostile attitude of those religionists, Jesus healed a helpless paralytic, and the deeply impressed people said: “We have seen strange things today!”—Luke 8:1-3.
35. How did Jesus enlarge the evangelizing activity?
35 Not only did Jesus himself proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom, but he sent out disciples of his to do similar preaching. After more than a year of training with him, his twelve disciples were sent out on their own to proclaim the kingdom. Luke 9:1, 2 tells us: “Then he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to cure sicknesses. And so he sent them forth to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.” The following year Jesus added seventy others to the evangelizing force: “After these things the Lord designated seventy others and sent them forth by twos in advance of him into every city and place to which he himself was going to come. Then he began to say to them: ‘. . . Also, wherever you enter into a city and they receive you, eat the things set before you, and cure the sick ones in it, and go on telling them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.”’”—Luke 10:1-9.
36. What was to be behind those evangelizers when they were testifying before ruling authorities, and so why has the Kingdom preaching proved irresistible in our time?
36 God’s active force was behind the anointed Jesus in doing his preaching. It was also to be behind these evangelizers whom Jesus sent forth. It would not fail them when they were called before ruling authorities. Said Jesus: “Do not become anxious about how or what you are to speak; for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour; for the ones speaking are not just you, but it is the spirit of your Father that speaks by you.” (Matthew 10:18-20; Luke 12:11, 12) This was to be true of the preachers of the good news of God’s kingdom even during the present “conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:3, 9-14) It is because the spirit of God is behind the preaching of the Messianic kingdom now established in the heavens in the hands of the Messiah Jesus that the preaching has proved to be irrepressible by men.—Mark 13:10-13.
37. What case is reported on in Luke 5:17-26 to show that the curative power of Jesus was not weakened by religious opposition?
37 Since Jesus had his anointing, not from men, but from his heavenly Father, he “went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil; because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) Malicious opposition by religious leaders did not weaken the force that was operative for miracles. With respect to one outstanding case, it is written: “In the course of one of the days he was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law who had come out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem were sitting there; and Jehovah’s power was there for him to do healing.”—Luke 5:17-26.
38. To whom did Jesus give the credit for his miracles, and concerning what sin did he warn his false accusers?
38 For his miraculous cures, Jesus gave the credit to the One really responsible for them. So, to those who accused him of being in league with Satan the Devil, whom they called “Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons,” Jesus said: “It is by means of God’s spirit that I expel the demons.” Consequently, he warned the opposers that “the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. . . . “whoever speaks against the holy spirit, it will not be forgiven him, no, not in this system of things nor in that to come.” The opposers had committed that unforgivable sin by maliciously attributing to the Devil what was plainly a miraculous operation of God’s holy spirit.—Matthew 12:24-32.
CALLED “GOD’S SON ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT”
39. Contrary to the common Jewish thought, what had their Hebrew Scriptures announced beforehand about Messiah’s experience?
39 Back there in Jesus’ day there were wrong views as to what sort of person the Messiah would be and what course had been marked out for him. The opposers of Jesus did not see that it was written in their own Hebrew Scriptures that the Messiah had first to suffer according to God’s will, even to the death. As the principal one of the “seed” of God’s “woman,” his “heel” had to be ‘bruised.’ (Genesis 3:15) After the Hebrew prophecies had been fulfilled in this regard, the apostle Peter pointed out this fact to a crowd of Jews in the temple at Jerusalem: “In this way God has fulfilled the things he announced beforehand through the mouth of all the prophets, that the Christ would suffer.”—Acts 3:18.
40. By what remarks to his apostles did Jesus show that he knew that the Messiah had to suffer and die?
40 From the Hebrew Scriptures Jesus knew that the Messiah had to suffer and die. Although his apostles recognized him as the Messiah, he caused surprise by telling them that he had to suffer a disgraceful death. When the apostle Peter objected to such an idea, Jesus said to him: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptizer, suffered at the hands of enemies what they wanted to do to him, and, said Jesus, “in this way also the Son of man is destined to suffer at their hands.”—Matthew 16:21-23; 17:12, 13.
41. In the first century C.E., how was the congregation of Christ’s disciples regarded because of the way in which he died?
41 Finally Jesus was put to death like a blasphemer against God and a seditionist against the Roman Empire. This proved to be a great stumbling block to both Jews and Gentiles, as far as their accepting Jesus as the promised Messiah is concerned. More than twenty-five years later, Jews in Rome expressed their attitude toward the congregation of Jesus’ disciples by saying to the imprisoned apostle Paul: “Truly as regards this sect it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against.”—Acts 28:22.
42. As illustrated in the case of the apostle Paul, what was it necessary for Christians to prove from the Scriptures about the Messiah?
42 Consequently it became necessary for Christians to prove that Jesus’ death on a torture stake outside of Jerusalem, rather than discrediting him as the promised Messiah of the Holy Scriptures, really proved that he was the true Messiah, the Christ of God. For instance, let us take the case of the apostle Paul in the synagogue at Thessalonica, Macedonia: “According to Paul’s custom he went inside to them, and for three sabbaths he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying: ‘This is the Christ, this Jesus whom I am publishing to you.’” (Acts 17:1-3) Years later, the apostle Paul stood as a prisoner before the Roman governor Festus and the visiting king Agrippa to state his case. At the climax of his defense he said:
“Because I have obtained the help that is from God I continue to this day bearing witness to both small and great, but saying nothing except things the Prophets as well as Moses stated were going to take place, that the Christ was to suffer and, as the first to be resurrected from the dead, he was going to publish light both to this people and to the nations.”—Acts 26:22, 23.
43. Of what miracle by God did Paul become a witness, and how does Peter show why this was God’s greatest miracle?
43 Paul had become a witness of the resurrection, as he boldly declared before Festus and Agrippa. (Acts 26:12-18) Also, in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul testifies that, previous to his own conversion, there were “upward of five hundred brothers” who were eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead. This resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day of his death proved to be God’s greatest miracle. But God had the dynamic energy to perform it. Why was this the case? The apostle Peter indicates why, when he writes: “Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit. In this state also he went his way and preached to the spirits in prison.”—1 Peter 3:18, 19.
44. According to Peter, Jesus had been made alive as what?
44 What did Peter mean? This: That Almighty God did not resurrect Jesus as a human person but raised him as a spirit person, an incorruptible, death-proof or immortal spirit person.
45, 46. (a) After the descent of God’s spirit upon him at the Jordan River, what was Jesus declared to be? (b) By his resurrection from the dead Jesus was declared to be God’s Son according to what?
45 Jesus’ physical body had been sown in death, as a sacrifice for God to dispose of. Hence Jesus was raised to heavenly life with a “spiritual body,” glorious, clothed upon with immortality, never to die again. (1 Corinthians 15:42-54) Earlier, on the day of Jesus’ baptism in water, Jehovah God begot him by means of His holy spirit to be henceforth a spiritual Son of God with a heavenly inheritance in view. To testify to Jesus’ begettal, God spoke from heaven, announcing that the anointed Jesus was His beloved, approved spiritual Son. (Matthew 3:13-17) But on the day of Jesus’ resurrection out of death God declared him to be a fully born spirit Son of God. That is why Paul writes:
46 “God’s good news, which he promised aforetime through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who sprang from the seed of David according to the flesh, but who with power was declared God’s Son according to the spirit of holiness [how?] by means of resurrection from the dead—yes, Jesus Christ our Lord.”—Romans 1:1-4.
47. In Ephesians 1:19-21, how does Paul speak of the stupendousness of God’s miracle in resurrecting Jesus?
47 Bearing witness to the stupendousness of Jehovah’s miracle in resurrecting Jesus Christ as an immortal spirit, the apostle Paul writes further: “It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come.” —Ephesians 1:19-21; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Peter 3:21, 22.
48. Who is the “woman” meant in Genesis 3:15, and by resurrecting Jesus what wound did God heal?
48 By performing this wonderful resurrection of Jesus Christ, the heavenly Physician, Jehovah, healed the wound that the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, had inflicted on the “heel” of the “seed” of the “woman” by means of his wicked earthly organization. (Genesis 3:15) The “woman” in this mystery of God was, not the sinner Eve or the virgin Jewess Mary, but God’s wifelike heavenly organization composed of holy spirit creatures. Such organization provided God’s only-begotten Son for service here on earth as the promised Messiah.—Compare Galatians 4:25, 26.
49, 50. What is the Principal One of the “seed” of God’s “woman” now in a position to do, and what things do we hail that are to come through him?
49 The Principal One of the “seed” of God’s “woman” is now in a position to bruise the Great Serpent, Satan the Devil, in the head and to crush him and all his “seed.” No longer do we, whether Jew or Gentile, need to look for the coming of the true Messiah in the flesh to our earth. He did come and fulfill his role on earth in the first century of our Common Era. (1 John 4:2; 2 John 7) Now he is rewarded with glory in heaven. He is a spiritual Messiah or Christ, able to do far more than an earthly human Messiah or Christ.
50 All glory to Jehovah God, who anointed his Son Jesus “with holy spirit and power” to be the precious Messiah! All hail to the grand everlasting blessings that are promised to come to all mankind through the glorified spiritual Messiah, the Christ of God!—Acts 10:38; Genesis 22:18.