I experienced a first this week. A lady in our church introduced herself to me and told me that she got a tattoo based on a sermon I taught awhile back. She then showed me her arm and I asked if I could take this picture. She referenced how I talked about the early Church in the book of Acts when it simply referred to those Christians as followers of “the Way.”
Here are the examples:
- “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lordâ€™s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” Acts 9:1-2
- “But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.” Acts 19:9
- “About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.” Acts 19:23
- “I [Paul] persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify.” Acts 22:4-5a
- “However, I [Paul] admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect.” Acts 24:14a
- “Then Felix, who was well acquainted with the Way, adjourned the proceedings. ‘When Lysias the commander comes,’ he said, ‘I will decide your case.'” Acts 24:22
While I don’t necessarily think we need to abandon the use of the word “Christian” today, the reality is that it may be helpful for us and for others to remember this early title given to a radically new type of faith. It reminds us there is a unique Way we are to live, to think, and to treat those around us. It’s a path unlike most paths which people take.Â Jesus offers an invitation to view the world a different way.
We love those who hurt us.
We forgive those who wrong us.
We sacrifice for those who are overlooked.
We serve those who don’t deserve it.
We suffer for those who crave power.
We view the fullness of God as an innocent man unjustly dying for us.
We walk down a different way.