All posts tagged: Nathanael

A church on the island of Barra that is part of the Outer Hebrides located off the coast of Scotland. Credit: A J/Flickr/Creative Commons

The first Christian?

Though the term Christian is used today to describe those who believe in Jesus, it was never a term used by believers in the early church to describe themselves. According to Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, the disciples of Christ were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11:26), which today is located in modern Turkey. With a population back then of a half a million people, it is often considered the “cradle of Christianity.” Emboldened by the martyrdom of Stephen, the Jews began to aggressively persecute the followers of Christ. The disciples fled Jerusalem and a number went to Antioch and began preaching that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah both to the Jews and the Greeks (Acts 11: 19-20). Luke made an unusual statement, “a large number who believed turned to the Lord,” (Acts 11:21) which seems to imply that thought many believed Jesus was the Messiah, not all became disciples. Though the term Christian (Greek Christianos) was first used in Antioch, the term is only found in two other verses (Acts 26:28, …