Have you ever been reading the bible, and something just stands out to you? You may have read this verse or passage many times before, but for some reason, this time it shines apart more than ever before. Has that ever happened to you? It happens to me quite often and I truly believe that when we experience moments such as this, we are actually experiencing the Holy Spirit. I pray that the Lord uses this blog as a way to show others what He has shown me.
So, I was reading the Word and as I was reading, I came across something that truly impacted me. I had read about Paul (formerly known as Saul) and how he had been targeting and persecuting Christians all over Damascus. Acts 9:1-2 says “…he (Paul) went to the high priest and asked him for a letter 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.” In reading this, there was a phrase that really stood out to me. Paul was looking for those “who belonged to the Way”, as it says in this passage, and it is interesting how it was said.
During the time this took place, the people who followed Jesus were not known as Christians. The whole of Christianity was so young and so new that they hadn’t come up with a name for it. The name “Christian” was not given to the followers of Jesus yet. When people talked about the Jews who had converted to following Jesus, they were known as those who belong to the Way. Now later on in Acts 22:4, Paul says “I persecuted the followers of the Way…” So, with this knowledge, let’s look at how the Christians of this time were referred to.
Those who “belong” to the Way and those who are “followers” of the Way. Taking those two words into consideration, I noticed that Way was capitalized in every translation of the bible I read from, which was New King James Version, New international Version, and the Hebrew Translation Bible. I later did some more research and came across John 14:6. Jesus said to the disciples “I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the Way! The only Way! Now I believe that those who followed Christ were known as those who belong to the Way, but for two reasons.
They were not just following “the Way” referring to the walk of Jesus’ perfect, holy life, but also Jesus himself. The Way that Jesus walked and lived is what we belong to; who He is, our Lord and Savior, is who we belong to. Now, I wouldn’t be going into a 10-minute talk about what Christians were called during the times of the bible unless I believe that the Lord meant for me to learn this and intends that I share it. I believe that the Christians of today need to know and understand this.
Too many people claim to be a Christian and throw the name of Jesus Christ around without fully understanding the value and holiness of His name. That does not bring God glory nor does it show gratitude for the sacrifice Jesus made. I think that the Christians of this world who truly know Jesus and live to serve Him, should desire to be known as one who “belongs to the Way.” Even if we are persecuted for belonging to His Way, we should stand firm in the promise of His love. “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:6-7.
Our identity should be found in Jesus Christ. Not in the world, not in the things of this world, but in the Way. When we make that decision to accept Christ as the Lord of our lives and choose to follow Jesus, we are made a new creation; we become one who belongs to His Way. “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6.
I pray that if this is not a reminder for you, that it be a wake up call. We cannot not call ourselves Christians and still live like the world. We must die to ourselves, the things we desire and what we want, so that He may live within us and His will be done through us. It is vital that when we proclaim the name of Jesus, we do so with the knowledge of who He is and what He did for us all. As my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we must lay down all we have, all we love and want, all that we are, at the foot of the cross, and follow Him. “He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30. Let’s not take the precious sacrifice Jesus made lightly or for granted. Brothers and sisters, Belong to the Way.