Posted under The Rectory Bulletin
“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26)
The name “Christian” came about as a nickname, rather than a conscious choice. It was not the product of a marketing drive, or the outcome of a discussion on branding, but rather people looked at the disciples and that’s the nickname which sprang to mind. They saw Peter, Paul and the rest and what marked them out was their loyalty to Christ.
Now, we don’t know anything about why the name came about but it is quite likely that it was not seen as a compliment. The name “Methodist” was also a nickname, and was used to mock Wesley and his friends for their ‘methodical’ style of Christianity. It is not hard to imagine that the disciples were being mocked for their continual talk of Christ, and their devotion to his cause. They were Christ-focussed, and aimed to be Christ-like. They were Christ-ians.
Here, then, is a challenging thought: if you moved into a new village, and no-one knew you or your background, would they come to the same conclusion? Would you be more noted for being a follower of Christ, than someone who has (or had) a particular job or a distinct hobby. Would you be nicknamed “Christian” because it is clear that he is the central guide and impulse of your life?
At Antioch, the inhabitants of that great city saw the disciples, and could see Christ in them. What would your nickname be?