Acts 10-12: Christians

For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.

Acts 11:26, RSV


And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

Matthew 28:18-20, RSV


It's interesting to see just how well the teachings of the Bible fit together. In our reading for today, we come across the statement that the disciples were called Christians. But, what is a disciple? Perhaps the best definition of disciple involves terms such as "follower", "student", "adherent", etc. The idea is that a disciple is one who studies and adheres to the teaching of the one that they follow.


Jesus had explained this quite thoroughly when He gave his disciples the instructions we read above in Matthew 28, just prior to His departure from this world. In that instruction, Jesus revealed that disciples were made by baptizing them. In the teachings throughout the Book of Acts, we find that this baptism is always one of a believer, and it follows a confession of that belief (a calling on His name), and a repentance of sins.


But Jesus' instructions recorded in Matthew 28 reveal more than just how to become a disciple of Christ (which we read in the passage above is the same thing as a Christian), He also indicates how to continue to be a disciple - by observing all that He commanded. That in its essence is what the New Testament is: A teaching of everything that Jesus commanded.


Isn't it wonderful that the Bible is so perfectly fit together that men can understand and obey its teachings, so that we can be every bit as much a Christian today as the disciples of Christ were when the church began some 2,000 years ago!


The reading for these three days is Acts 10-12. This reading continues to reveal the history of the church in it's earliest time.