BIBLE READING: Acts 11-12
Did you ever have a nickname? Ever since Jr. High, I have been known by my school mates as Jeupie. Now my real name is Matt Heupel, but for short, people began to call me “Heupie”, which for some reason or other transformed into “Jeupie”. Nicknames are fun, because they allow us to be called by something that is not our real name. As the church began to grow, evidently the people of Antioch believed that the followers of Jesus needed a nickname, so they began referring to them as Christians (Acts 11.26). Up until this point people had been referring to them as people of “the Way”, but for some reason people wanted to give them the designation, Christian. After all, it did fit in that “Christians” referred to those who were followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, Isaiah even prophesies that the people of God will be called by a “new name” in Isaiah 62.2. Over the years however, I have noticed how the term “Christian” now has a looser meaning. I know several people that consider themselves “Christian” that have nothing to do with Jesus. If you study the Bible enough you will find that the Greeks had another word for those type of people; they were called “hypocrites”. A “Hypocrite” was a term that was used for people that pretended to be someone that they were not. Let’s make sure that we just don’t consider the name “Christian” like we do with our nickname, but rather let’s take it as it was meant to be implied as “a follower of Jesus Christ.