Oct 18, 2007

Called Christians

The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (Acts 11:26).

We use the term, "Christian", as a self-designation. We tell others that we are Christians.

But the Bible doesn't use the term that way. Christian was not a self-designation. The disciples were first called Christians.

As the church began growing, the people around them noticed that they were different. They were not like the other pagans they knew. They were not like the Jews they knew. And so they looked at them and said, "Who the heck are these people?" And they called them Christians - because they were Christ-followers.

And when the first followers of Jesus were called by others, "Christians", it was derogatory term. According to Josephus, a Jewish historian during the days of Jesus, Christians were rumored to be both incestuous and cannibals.
  • Incestuous - because they were calling each other brothers and sisters, and yet some of them were married to their brothers and sisters.
  • Cannibals - because whenever they gathered, they broke bread and ate and drank the blood of Jesus Christ.
There was much misunderstanding about who these Christ followers were. However, what was undeniable was that they were different than anyone else they had ever met. They were so different in the ways they loved one another, cared for one another, in the ways that they treated the people around them that the people around them couldn't help but notice they were different. And they knew these weren't Jews or pagans. They were something totally different. They were Christians. And so the first Christ followers were called Christians in Antioch.

The question for us is this - Would someone know that you are a Christian by your actions and deeds? Would they know by the ways you treat them, and how you treat others that you are a Christian? Do your coworkers, neighbors, friends even know you are a Christian? Not because you tell them you go to church or because you are a self professing Christian, but because what your actions and deeds screams loud and clear that you are a follower of Jesus Christ?

I pray that we too will be the generation of believers where the unbelieving world cannot help but call us Christians.

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