In the sense that I remain a follower of the teachings of God’s Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, yes, you would STILL refer to me as such and I would STILL respond. However, there are a few things all Modern Day Followers – Disciples of Jesus – should consider:
Did you know the word “who is jesus” appears only three times in the New Testament? The New Testament’s use of this term indicates that it was a term of derision, a term placed upon Christ’s followers by their critics. Not unlike, for instance, the British reference to America’s colonists, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” A “dandy” was considered a derogatory term for a person with pretensions above his social status. “Yankee” was also highly derogatory and referred to a coward. British troops used it to mock American Colonial militias who, untrained and undisciplined, often broke and ran before the advancing Redcoats. In time, as the tide of the Revolution turned, the young Americans embraced the term and it stuck.
We find the term “Christians” in Acts 17:28 (NIV) where King Agrippa, an unbeliever, said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” It is also found in 1 Peter 4:16 (NIV): “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” This text indicates that early believers in Christ suffered persecution for being “Christians.” In fact, in 1 Peter being a “Christian” seems almost synonymous with suffering (1:6,7; 2:12,19-23; 3:9-17; 4:1,12-19; 5:9).
First, “Christian” was not so much a name that they chose as a name that was APPLIED to them (they were CALLED Christians by others). This is consistent with the observation that it was a term placed upon them by hostile critics.
Next, it was a term that was placed on “the disciples.” This helps us to establish the meaning of the term: A Christian is a disciple, a follower of Christ, one who places their faith in Jesus as God’s Christ.
Finally, a Christian is one who is prepared to suffer for the sake of Christ, if necessary. This suffering, as we have seen, is described in detail by Peter. It entails a life patterned after the life and death of Jesus, a life of service to God and others.
God permitted people to be slaves under the Old Covenant. But God’s Law didn’t allow His people to mistreat slaves. The way slavery was practiced in America’s Southern states and elsewhere was/is completely against the principles of the Word of God. In Deuteronomy 15:12-15, God guarantees that slavery, for a Hebrew, is not permanent. It’s not for life. The longest time a Hebrew could be kept in slavery was six years, and when he was set free in the seventh year, he was to be released with livestock and food. Why? So he wouldn’t have to sell himself again the next day in order to get a bite to eat.
In verse 16, we read: “But if your servant says to you, “I do not want to leave you,” because he loves you and your family and is well off with you, then take an awl and push it through his ear lobe into the door, and he will become your servant for life. Do the same for your maidservant.”
A slave could go free at the end of six years of service, but they didn’t always jump at the chance. There would be slaves who did not want to go, those who had a hard time earning a living, for whom the room and board they had as a slave was better than anything they’d been able to find for himself. They might have grown comfortable with their master and his household over the past six years, and could not bring themselves to leave.