So how do you label yourself? If someone were to ask you if you believed in something or had faith, your answer would be yes. If they asked you what faith you were, you might tell them the church building you go to, or maybe respond, “Protestant” (though we’re not protesting anything, anymore – as matter of fact we’re more accepting and tolerant of most everything), or you might use the word “Christian.”
But let me ask you… do you understand what the word Christian implies? We first hear of it in Acts 11. It reads like this…
“Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul. He found Saul and brought him to Antioch, where they met with the church for a whole year and taught many of its people. There in Antioch the Lord’s followers were first called Christians.” Acts 11:25-26 CEV
Here’s what we know: it wasn’t those who believed in Jesus who called themselves Christians, but it was the people of Antioch who called them that. The word means, those belonging to Christ, or Christ’s men. As these Christians talked about Jesus to people everywhere, the Gentiles around them labeled them Christ’s men. At first it was a term of reproach. It was meant in a hateful, derogatory way, like saying, “Look at those crazy people! They come into our city, they don’t worship our idols, they live lives entirely different from ours.” So they referred to them in a negative way as Christ’s men – Christians.
But the disciples thought it was a compliment, that it was wonderful to be recognized and called Christ’s men, so they adopted the name and called themselves Christians. That’s why we still carry on the name Christian today.
But do you understand the depth of that word? Christ is not Jesus middle name. It’s His title, His position. It means the Anointed One – Messiah. He is God’s chosen to redeem and save the world.
But do you realize what that means for you? The Bible says, “… you have an anointing from the Holy One…” 1 John 2:20
In other words, when Jesus came into your life and you allowed Him to take full rule of your life, His anointing became your anointing. All His righteousness became your righteousness. All His truth, mercy and grace became your truth, mercy and grace. His anointing is your anointing. That’s what makes you different from all the rest of the world around you. The Anointed One Himself has anointed you. You’re His chosen one.
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Being a Christian is not just a title or a label, it’s a relationship, a calling – one you didn’t deserve, but one that was freely given to you by Jesus. Be one of those who people will say, “He’s one of Christ’s men!” “She’s one of Christ’s women!” Let His anointing radiate through you for all to see!
Shine through me for all the world to see that I am a follower of Your Son, my Savior, Jesus. It’s in His name I pray, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen