Acts 11:26 And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
The word Christian only appears in scripture three times, but it’s a very important word. Believers in Jesus were first called Christians at a church in a city named Antioch. Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire and it was a center for worship of pagan gods. When they first called believers Christians in Antioch it wasn’t meant as a compliment. They meant it as a put-down, an insult.
But to be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Risen Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords. It’s easy for believers to take the name Christian for granted, but in the days of Peter and Paul the name Christian came with a degree of danger. Peter tells us, “Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter (1 Peter 4:16). When you bear the name of Christian suffering comes with that. Why? Jesus said: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John 15:18-19). We Christians aren’t like the world—we aren’t like unbelievers—so they hate us.
There came a day when the Apostle Paul had to stand trial before King Agrippa. Agrippa was the son of the man who killed James with a sword and imprisoned Peter, so he was a long way from being a believer in Jesus. But when Paul was given permission to speak at his trial he defended himself by telling Agrippa all about Jesus. As the hearing came to an end Agrippa said, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” (Acts 26:28) Agrippa was almost persuaded to be a follower of Jesus.
If you claim the name of Christian you claim to be a follower of Christ. If you’re persuaded to put your faith in Jesus the world isn’t going to like you very much, but there’s nothing the Lord loves better than a Christian.
Have a God Filled Week,