Ghirlandaio, Domenico. Calling of the Apostles. 1481.
What is a Follower of Jesus?
You might have personally said or have heard someone describe themselves as a Christian, but what exactly does that even mean? So many different groups are often listed under the umbrella of Christianity, and when we do a deeper search, we discover that some of them might not fit into what has been historically characteristic about what it means to be a Christian. The first place we find the word "Christian" being used to describe the followers of Jesus Christ is found in Acts 11:26, "The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." Dr. Craig Keener explains further in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: "'Christians' occurs in the New Testament only here, as a nickname given by outsiders, and in 1 Peter 4:16, as something like a legal charge. The title is formed on the analogy of adherents to a political party: the 'Caesarians,' the 'Herodians,' the 'Pompeians' and so forth. Had it been interpreted politically ('partisans of the executed Judean king') it could have stirred persecution, but here it apparently functions merely as derision. At least by a later period, Antiochans were known for making fun of people. By the early second century, however, Jesus' followers had welcomed the title." Listen to Dr. Craig Keener in the short video clip below describe what a follower of Jesus must believe and the necessary steps to start following Jesus.