How did the people of Antioch get called ‘Christians’ or “Little Christs” by their world? (Acts 11:26) Did they all wear matching purple sashes, with special Christian fish sandals, highly groomed beards (even the girls – ha), sport a serious but inviting grin, and have sparkling blue eyes (not a lot of blue-eyed, full blooded Jews – just sayin’).
Ok, in all seriousness what did the non-believing people of the town know about Jesus. Most of them had never met Jesus (since Antioch was 300 miles or a 15 day walk from Judea where Jesus ministered) – they only knew what they heard from rumors. These are what they very likely had heard about Jesus 1. They knew He said things that helped people 2. They knew He healed people miraculously 3. They knew He was crucified because of a weird Jewish squabble.
So how did they watch these people and see Jesus Christ (Savior, healer)? Just look at what was said about Barnabas, one of the longtime leaders of the Antioch church 1. He’s an encourager (11:23) 2. He was a good man 3. He was fully of Holy Spirit & faith (11:24).
In other words, the people of Antioch (following Barnabas’ lead) 1. said things that helped people (like Jesus) 2. did miracles (like Jesus), and 3. each of them were willing to be beaten and killed (many of them were, just like Jesus).
This raises the question – are we Christians (little Christs) to our world? If we didn’t already have that label culturally, would people find reason to stick it on us? We have the opportunity everyday to make someone turn and say, “Now, that’s a Christian.” In other words, we can bring healing with our words, see miracles, and be willing to lay everything down for Jesus. They’re watching, it’s time to practice becoming what we say we are.