Gentile believers = Christians     

 

 

Hebrew believers = Christians

 

 

Gentile + Hebrew disciples = Christians

 

 

 

 

Acts 11:26….(they were) first called CHRISTIANS in Antioch.

So, who was at Antioch? And what was “special” or different about the church there?

Acts 11:19-20 So then those who were scattered because of the persecution (ie JEWS) that occured in connection with Stephen, made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to JEWS alone. BUT there were some of them (JEWS), men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who CAME TO Antioch and began speaking to the GREEKS also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them and a large number who believed turned to the Lord. (AND in Acts 13: 1 there were in the church at Antioch, prophets and teachers that were JEWS). So, in the church at Antioch were both JEWS and GENTILES.

Acts 11: 26 states that these JEWISH and GENTILE believers in Messiah Jesus, who were called “CHRISTIANS” were more than “believers”-they were “DISCIPLES”. “And after an entire year they (Saul and Barnabus) met with the church and TAUGHT considerable numbers and the DISCIPLES were first called CHRISTIANS in Antioch.”

How did they become “DISCIPLES”? It was because they were TAUGHT consistently and received instruction in the ways of the Lord and followed that teaching and that Way. For they were also known as followers of the Way (Acts 9:2).

Are you a “Christian”?

I suppose from this, only if outsiders call you one, based on what they see and know. What do they see and what do they know when they look at you?  They didn’t call themselves Christians in the church at Antioch. It was a calling, not a naming, and by others. And so, as the outsiders did in Antioch, when they look at you and your church, do they witness Jews and Gentiles gathering together, or at least associated in some way with an undeniable connection (wild olive branch with natural one)? Do they see you as a peculiar people sold out to Jesus the Messiah, as DISCIPLES of His?

Whether or not it was therefore a disparaging term, or a complimentary one, it was neverthless a Greek way of needing to identify and label a GROUP of people who seemed peculiar. King Agrippa later used it somewhat scornfully when speaking with Paul as to whether he would himself become a Christian so soon after Paul’s words of persuasion to him (Acts 26:28).

The WHOLE GROUP of JEWISH and GREEK DISCIPLES were called Christians. The term Christians was used in the plural form also in this passage. There were already terms for this group when they were separate before this time (ie those Gentiles or those Jews) but to an outsider, in seeing them joined together, something that was very “peculiar” had taken place, which never had happened before like this, the outsiders wondered what to call them, and so called them “CHRISTIANS”!

So, the term arose only in the context of these JEWISH and GENTILE believers; together being DISCIPLED unto the ONE Messiah!

AND so…

Both JEW AND GENTILE alike,

Were being identified as the ONE NEW MAN in Messiah.

 

CHRISTIAN…

This is the Way, walk ye in it.

JEW and GENTILE both.

TOGETHER.

As one.

 

 

 

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