Wearing Christ's Name
Thursday, May 21, 2020
And he (Barnabas) left Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
There are a lot of names in the New Testament for believers, such as:
•Child of God
But to this day, the name that most resonates with us is the name “Christian.” What did the name originally mean? And what does it reallyimply about those who bear it?
As we do a little digging through history, we discover that the name “Christian” isn’t a name believers came up with; it’s a name that originated with pagans living in Antioch.
In fact, it seems to have been a derogatory title which meant “little Christ” or “Christ impersonator.” The title was slanderous and a blatant mockery of Jesus. To wear the name was to wear a life sentence of persecution and, in some cases, a death sentence.
In 1 Peter 4:16, the Holy Spirit redeems the meaning of the word when he says through Peter, “but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”
Those words are as relevant for us today as they were back then. In our culture, Christ is maligned in popular media and television shows. He is the brunt of irreverent jokes and His name is used as a common expletive. We associate with His persecution when we wear the name “Christian.” In fact, wearing His name is a part of bearing our cross.
Let me illustrate it this way. In Costa Rican bullfighting, any man over the age of eighteen is allowed to fight the bull if he is sober. Because of that, you’ll see up to one hundred and fifty young men standing proudly in the ring at the beginning of a fight, waiting for the bull to break wildly through the entrance gate.
When the bull enters, however, almost all of them scramble over the sides of the ring in fear. Every man wants the title “Bull Fighter,” but only a few of them can bear the weight of what it means.
Are you living as a Christian in name only, or are you bearing the weight of all that His name carries with it? You are Christ’s ambassador. You are His spokesman. You are a reflection of His character to a watching world.
So remember that today as you bear His sacred name to those around you. The privilege is great, but the responsibility is equal to it.
Prayer Point: Confess to Christ the times you have already misrepresented Him this week through anger, or impatience, or spiritual lethargy. Then pray for a greater awareness of His Spirit as you seek to walk by means of His power rather than your own.
Extra Refreshment: In Psalm 15, David gives us a description of how every Christian should live. His wording is simple and his application is practical. Pray through each line and allow God to convict you in the areas where you are weak. Then apply Psalm 15 to the full chapter of Acts 11, as you read and meditate on the words.