Acts 19:8-10 (HCSB)
8 Then he entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, engaging in discussion and trying to persuade them about the things related to the kingdom of God.9 But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples, conducting discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.10 And this went on for two years, so that all the inhabitants of the province of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
If you’ve been to church recently or are following online, you know that God’s had us emphasizing discipleship lately. This passage addresses the topic as well.
You might note: Luke differentiates the folks who weren’t disciples from those who were. For three months he talked to the Jews in the synagogue of Ephesus. And after three months there emerged two groups:
- One group who is characterized here as “hardened” (obstinate in the NIV)
- and the other group which Luke calls “disciples.”
But what I really love about this passage is the name given to the church. Remember, we’re still in the heady days of grass-roots, amazing, unheard of expansion in the church. It was like a wildfire. They hadn’t yet had a chance to formalize their beliefs, their structure…they didn’t even have a name! “What are we even called?” Some were calling them Christians (which was meant to be a slight). Later, they would call themselves the “church.” But here…well, they just called themselves “the Way.”
Let me tell you why I love that name. I love it because it speaks volumes to me. Of course, first and foremost, following Jesus is the way to salvation. But for these disciples, following Jesus was also the way…to live, to speak, to act, to make decisions, to be a father, to be a mother, to be an employer, to be an employee, to be a citizen. Of course, that’s a mouthful. So they just called it the Way. Following Jesus is the way to live.
As we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, unfortunately for many of us, following Jesus is the way we spend Sundays…and that’s about it. Maybe because we’re so obstinate… But we can change that if we choose…
Glad to be a part of the Way with you…