I don’t know whether anyone’s tried to tell you that the word “Christian” means “Little Christ.” I’ve heard this from several. Several of the pastors who have tried to set me straight about our objective as Christians. Our objective to be like Christ.
But it is apparently false. This understanding of the word Christian is apparently false.
Having no idea myself, I looked it up this evening in one of Zondervan’s Understanding the Bible reference series: Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary.
It says that the word Christian is derived from the Greek, Christianos. Further it says, “The Latin termination –ianos, widely used throughout the [Roman] empire, often designated the slaves of the one with whose name it was compounded.”
“Slaves,” not “children” or “followers” or “friends” or “companions” or “colleagues” or “brothers.”
A name that was applied first in Antioch, if Acts is correct, by non-Christians to followers of the Way. A name that stuck and was adopted by Christians themselves.
Which suggests to me that the first Christians did not imagine themselves to be little Christs.
They did not act as if they were in any way diminutive copies or duplicates of Christ. They did not behave as if they were in any sense equal to or roughly equivalent to or approximately the same as Jesus.
No. They acted like Christ’s slaves would act. Like people who didn’t have anything remotely resembling the social or political or spiritual standing of their master.