Messiah is a word that means “Anointed one”. It can be used to address any king, prophet, or priest in the Old Testament. In fact, an odd application of the words is found in Isaiah 45:1 when Cyrus is called the Lord’s anointed. Obviously, he was appointed to return the captives of Israel back to Jerusalem and authorize the rebuilding of the temple. “Messiah” is actually an English derivative of a Hebrew word, but its Greek equal is more widely known, Christos or Christ.
One of the first recorded messages by Jesus recorded in Luke is Jesus proclaiming Himself to be the Anointed One, The Christ. In Luke 4:16-22, Jesus quotes Isaiah 61:12, “The spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor…This is fulfilled in your hearing.” John the baptizer, when he doubted, sent his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the Christ or should we look for another?” I love His answer. Jesus tells the disciples to tell John what they see and hear, as He heals the blind, lame, lepers, deaf, and preaches the gospel to the poor.
Perhaps the second most interesting conversation Jesus has with Peter is when He asks His disciples who the crowds say that He is. The responses seem pretty typical of a crowd on the fringe of understanding what Jesus was doing. Yet, Peter’s personal response (as seen in Matt 16:13-17; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-22) seems to show an understanding that is only complete after the Holy Spirit comes with power at Pentecost.
I think that at this, the midway point, it behooves us to take a moment to look at what the promised Messiah was sent to do. The gospel of Matthew was written from a Jewish perspective and seems to try to convince the reader that Jesus was the Messiah. Its numerous quotations of the Old Testament prophesies make it an ideal place to look when revisiting what was prophesied about the coming messiah, about Jesus. In my remaining space, I will just list off some things that were foretold and the references of their fulfillment.
Virgin Birth- Isa 7:14 -> Matt 1:18-25
Born in Bethlehem- Micah 5:2 -> Matt 2:1-6
Live in Egypt- Hosea 11:1 -> Matt 2:13-15
Children of Bethlehem put to death- Jer 31:5 -> Matt 2:16-18
Preaching in Galilee- Isa 9:1-2 -> Matt 4:12-17
Bearing infirmities- Isa 53:4 -> Matt 8:1-17 (among others)
Speak in parables- Ps 78:2 -> Matt 13:1-35 (among others)
Ride on a donkey- Zech 9:9 -> Matt 21:1-10
Children praise Jesus- Ps 8:2 -> Matt 21:15-16
Betrayed- Ps 41:9 -> Matt 26:14:16
Followers scattered- Zech 13:7 -> Matt 26:47-56
Spat on and struck- Isa 50:6 -> Matt 26:67
Crucified with criminals- Isa 53:12 -> Matt 27:38
Garments divided- Ps 22:8 -> Matt 27:35
Forsaken by God- Ps 22:1 -> Matt 27:46
Buried with the rich- Isa 53:9 -> Matt 27: 57-60
Resurrect from the dead- Ps 16:10; Ps 49:15 -> Matt 28:2-7
And these are just the ones that are fulfilled in the Matthew narrative. There are many many more.