I and Father are one. Reading and meditation on the Word of God on Tuesday of the 4th week of Easter, April 27, 2021. Reading is delivered by Nita and meditation delivered by Eka (from Saint Peter’s School in Jakarta, Indonesia). Acts of the Apostles 11: 19-26; Rs psalm 87: 1-3.4-5.6-7; John 10: 22-30
THE NAME IS CHRISTIAN
Our meditation today has the theme: The Name Is Christian. We are speaking of a very universal name by which every follower of Christ identifies himself or herself. This Christian name has scope for both individuals and the community of people who follow and believe in Jesus Christ. Identification with the person of Jesus Christ in connection with this name is in the unity with the person of Jesus Christ. This is in the same line with Jesus’ repeated affirmation in the Gospel, that He dwells in those who hear and receive Him and keep His commandments.
Historically speaking, it is stated in the Acts of the Apostles that, the first time the name “Christian” was used was during the spread of the gospel after the resurrection of Christ. It was in the context of the pursuit and persecution of the Early Church by Jewish militants on the one hand, and the missionary zeal of the Church to reach out to Gentile areas on the other. As far as modern countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran that differ from Jerusalem in Palestine, these areas were reached by the apostles and disciples of Jesus even though they were known as the territories of infidels.
The great city of that time, Antioch in present-day Turkey, accepted the faith. Many people chose to follow Christ. The church grew so dynamically under the reliable leader Barnabas who was accompanied by the charismatic apostle Paul. The church was still growing and being recognized as a newly built group by various other groups that were dominant in this Roman and Greek culture. Even though it was small and still new, its presence and influence indeed attracted attention of many only because the principle content of its preaching that was the person of Jesus Christ who had become famous. To differentiate and to become the identity of this Church, for the first time the community of Christ’s followers in that city was given the name Christians (Acts 11,26).
The name Christian then immediately spread wide and went to various directions according to where every follower of Christ went. People easily associated themselves in this way: I am Christian, you are Christian, he is Christian, she is Christian, we are Christians, and they are Christians. This association and identification has been in use until now. This represents an embodiment of the principle of communion of each follower and the Church with Jesus Christ. If there was no such communion and there was no Jesus Christ as the primary source of unity, of course the name “Christian” would not be possible.
The basis for this fellowship is actually the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Gospel today, namely that He and the Father are one. With that “Christian” name, we are all united as children of the Father and He is truly our Father.
Let’s pray. In the name of the Father … O God almighty, bless us and strengthen our fellowship with Jesus Christ as the head and in the unity with Your Holy Spirit. Glory to the Father … In the name of the Father …