People of the way
The first group of people to believe that Jesus had been raised from the dead... the people that met together and prayed together and broke the bread together, the people who were known primarily by the love they had for one another, were not called Christians. Did you know that? The name “Christian” didn’t come until a little later. They were also not called Catholics, meaning “universal”, or Orthodox, meaning “right belief,” nor were they called “Jews for Jesus,” even though many of them, practically speaking, were. These first followers of Jesus were known simply as “people of the Way.”
Which is interesting because that doesn’t sound like a religion, does it? “People of the Way” doesn’t sound like an institution or even a belief system; it sounds more like a hippie commune…which actually is not that far off, when you read the book of Acts, the Bible’s account of those early days of the movement.
That first community of Jesus-followers appeared pretty radical, even by today’s standards: “All who believed were together and had all things in common,” it says in Acts 2. “They would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.”