Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 11th June 2023: Being a Christian

Christian Giving Paul Be Barnabas Acts 11

Reading : Verses from Acts, Chapter 11

Bible and cross

Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen (see Acts 6.8-15) travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, and they spoke the word to no one except Jews. But among them were some men of Cyprus and Cyrene who, on coming to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number became believers and turned to the Lord. News of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year they associated with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called ‘Christians’.

At that time prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine over all the world; and this took place during the reign of Claudius. The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Who or what is a 'Christian'? We use it a lot today - to describe some schools, churches, and charities, as well as people - and to distinguish them from other schools, faiths and charities. But how can we tell a Christian from those who are not Christians? Do they wear something distinctive? Well certainly some men and women wear a cross around their neck, but for many people it's purely an item of jewellery. Do they speak in a certain way or use particular language? Well on the whole, not! So what is distinctive about a Christian? A few things occur to me:

  1. They believe in Jesus Christ and want to follow his teaching.
  2. As a sign, they will have been, or want to be, baptised in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  3. They will want to meet together with others to worship God.
  4. They are not ashamed of speaking about the importance of their faith.
  5. Their life shows evidence of their faith by their love for others people.

In our reading from Acts the followers of Jesus flee the area after persecution, taking their message about Jesus to others. Antioch was to become a great centre of early Christian learning, along with Alexandria, and the name "Christian" which was given as a jeering title to the followers of Jesus, was to become a badge of honour. Are we proud of being a Christian, today?


Lord Jesus,
sometimes we forget what an honour
it is to be called to Your service,
and how proud we should be
to be called a Christian.
May our love for You shine forth
in our lives,
and from us to the lives of those
with whom we come into contact.
May we also seek to help
those in need whoever they may be.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to listen or sing this old favourite hymn:

Or this by the Chet Valley Churches:

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