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So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people.  The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.  Acts 11:26 (NIV)

Have you ever looked at a brand name and wondered about its origin?  Here are a few interesting ones:

  • Harpic: from the first three letters of the first name and surname of the man who developed it – Harry Pickup.
  • Ryvita: from the word ‘rye’ and the Latin for life, vita.
  • 7-Up: named by the inventor who had already rejected six names for his product.
  • Amazon.com: Jeff Bezos wanted a name for his company that began with ‘A’ so that it would appear early in alphabetical order.  He began looking through the dictionary and settled on ‘amazon’ because it was a river he considered the biggest in the world, as he hoped his company would be.
  • Starbucks: named after Starbuck a character in Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick.
  • Hovis: derives from the Latin words, hominis vis meaning ‘man’s strength’.
  • Lego: from the Danish words leg godt meaning ‘play well’.

Our verse today uses the term “Christian” and shows its origin.  The word is only used three times in the New Testament.  The other references are in Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?’  Acts 26:28 (NIVUK)

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  1 Peter 4:16 (NIVUK)

In each instance the Greek word christianos is used, derived from the word christos which means ‘Christ, the anointed one’.  A Christian, then, is someone who is a follower of Christ.  In our day there is a certain casualness about ‘following’ someone.  It’s what you do on Twitter.  But in the Bible, to follow Christ was to believe in Christ, side with His party and follow His example.  The word was initially used by their detractors in a derogatory sense, but believers embraced the term as a badge of honour.  As Peter phrased it, “…praise God that you bear that name.”

Today as we go about our business, let’s remember that we bear the name of Christ and people form their opinions about Him from what they see and hear from us.  Let’s represent Him worthily and well.

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