Scripture: Acts 11:19-30
Key verse: (26b) So it was that for an entire year they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.”
Reflection: In today’s key verse we learn when the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians. We are so familiar with that word that we might not be aware of its origin.
Jesus’ followers were known as his disciples. The word “disciple” has the same root as the word “discipline,” so disciples are like apprentices who study with a master in hopes of imitating the master’s behaviors. The disciples were also known as followers of the Way. Jesus taught that he was the way, the truth and the life. A follower of the Way was someone who was trying to live like Jesus lived in the world. Do you notice that both of those terms are about a way of life and not about accepting a list of beliefs?
The word “Christian” is used only three times in the Bible (Acts 11:26 above, and also in Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16). The implication is that it was used as a term of derision by the residents of Antioch to describe the disciples.
I think it’s interesting that the disciples were labeled as Christians by outsiders and it wasn’t a label they chose for themselves. Do those around you see so much of Christ in your life that they would label you a “Christian”? Are you living in the Way of Jesus in the world? Are you an apprentice who is growing in imitating the master?
Prayer: Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart. Lord, I want to be more loving in my heart. Lord, I want to be more holy in my heart. Lord, I want to be like Jesus in my heart. By the power of your grace, transform my life to reveal the Way of Jesus. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].