It’s always interesting when you see something happening for the first time. I may be dating myself, but I remember the first time I saw a man walk on the moon. I also remember the first time I ever saw a computer in someone’s home. Firsts are important.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
In this verse we see the first time the word Christian was used. It was coined in a place called Antioch. If you read the chapter that this is in you’ll find that this church was so active, news of them reached all the way to Jerusalem. They were doing an incredible work for Christ.
But probably the most important thing to see is that the disciples were called Christians. What exactly is a disciple? I’ve heard many who say that a disciple is simply a student. That description is close, but not entirely accurate.
A student is someone who wants to learn what somebody else is teaching. They want to know what you know.
A disciple, on the other hand, is person who follows someone else in order to be like that person. It’s not enough just to understand what they teach. The disciple wants to be what the teacher already is.
The ones in the above verse were people who wanted to be like Jesus. They didn’t only want to talk about Him or read about Him. They wanted to do the same work that the Lord did when He walked this earth.
It’s sad that over time the impact of the word Christian has changed. Now, anyone who is even remotely affiliated with a church is called Christian.
We need to understand what following Christ is all about. It’s more than just a head knowledge of what the Lord did and said. It must be a desire to minister the same way He did.
That should be our goal if we call ourselves a Christian. I need to ask myself – am I just using that name, or would the people of Antioch recognize me as a Christian?
Question: Why has the word Christian become so watered down?
© Nick Zaccardi 2015