“… and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians” (Acts 11:26).
God and the Apostle Luke thought enough of the name and word “Christian” to make it a point to document that the name and word “Christian” was first given to the followers of Jesus in Antioch.
Antioch was notorious for its ability to produce nicknames.
They had one even for the emperor whom they once called “the Goat.” Thus the name “Christian” was given to the followers of Jesus neither by themselves nor by the Jews, but by the Greek speaking pagans in Antioch.
It was a nickname, a by- word, given in derision and contempt. The Christians took this name given in mockery and turned it into one of the most revered names in history.
The name tells us something very important about the Christian: that there is a resemblance between Christ and the Christian. The Christian is first and foremost a CHRIST person.
A New Name For a New People The people in Antioch had many names in their resourceful language but they had no name to cover this type of character.
These followers of Jesus did things, said things, lived things hitherto unheard of in the history of the world. They lived purity — purity of a new order, purity of thought and feeling. They lived forgiveness — forgiveness of a new kind, forgiveness for friend and foe alike.
They lived love — love of a new order, love for those who least deserved it. They lived humility — a new kind of humility the world had not seen before except in Jesus! So they made a new name for these people in whom they saw the purity, the forgiveness, the love, and the humility of Jesus.
They called them CHRISTIANOI, Christ people! It began as a “nickname” in mocking terms but God & His people made it into a name for people of tremendous integrity and great courage!
God who likes to take the things the world calls foolish and ultimately exalt them to the highest level made “Christians” into the name of the people that will ultimately rule and reign with Him over His eternal Kingdom. Selah!
25 What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses or forfeits his very self?