so barnabas went to tarsus to look for saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to antioch. for a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. and in antioch the disciples were first called christians. [john 11:38-44]
first called christians
the name of ‘christian’ has come to take on different meanings to different people.
to some, ‘christians’ are a voting bloc.
to others, ‘christians’ are a judgemental group who follow a lot of rules.
even more may see ‘christians’ as people who ‘need a crutch’ to get through life.
some use the name ‘christian’ as a genre, describing christian music or christian movies.
is this really all there is to christianity?
the people who were first called christians were not using faith as a crutch or working to start a new subculture. it wasn’t a clever little name for their new group. the lives of these people called christians had been completely changed. they had been brought from death to life, had found unity in the truth of God, and were now living and acting in his power, to his glory, embracing the most powerful truth ever known to humanity. These christians had discovered not just a trendy idea, but a world-altering reality that the Holy Spirit was active and working among them.
barnabas brought saul to antioch to engage first-hand in this God-driven revival of souls. with so many new believers he knew that saul was needed to help lead in their growth and edification. i can’t imagine anywhere else saul would rather be.
it gives me a sense of thanks for these believers who were first called christians for sharing their faith boldy and unashamedly. their devotion and faithfulness can be traced to today, thousands of years later, as we can still hear the same amazing message of hope, grace, love and eternal salvation.
~ jason soroski