I know for you may be a dummy question but I've never understood why are we Christians if Jesus, the God's son, was of Jewish descent?
The genealogy of Jesus Christ, documented both by Matthew and Luke in their gospel accounts shows that he was born of Mary and was descended from both Abraham, the father of all the Hebrews, and descended from David the principal King of Israel.
The whole history of the Old Testament records God's dealings with Israel and his unfolding purpose which was initially demonstrated by him within the confines of one people - Israel - but was always intended to reach farther and to encompass the whole world in due time.
Jesus Christ came of Israel, was born of an Israelite, Mary, was counted as the son of David by being adopted by Joseph, but God's purpose in sending his Son is evidently a purpose that reaches to every one on earth.
Those who believe on Jesus Christ do not revert to that which was, initially, a more restricted situation as God's purposes were intimated and exampled in Jewish rituals and ceremonies. What is now revealed is the reality of a spiritual revelation that far transcends the earthly figures and patterns.
The Book of Acts chronicles the events of the early church. In that book, the followers of Jesus are called:
- followers of The Way (Acts 9:2)
- Christians (Acts 11:26)
- members of the sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5)
It seems likely that it was non-Christians who applied these three labels to the Christians, and the second one stuck. This second name was applied to them first in Antioch.
As for why, though it is true that first Christians were all Jews, that changed. The term "Jew" refers to the tribe of Judah and the land of Judea. It is not properly descriptive of a group whose non-Jewish members soon outnumbered the Jewish ones. Also, since Paul argued successfully (also in Acts) with the leadership of the church, it was not required that Christians be circumcised.
"Christian" comes from the Greek Χριστιανος (Christianos), and roughly translates to "Messians," i.e. those who follow either "the Christ" or "that Christ fellow" (i.e. depending on whether it originated among Jews who identified as followers of the promised Christ, or originated as a pejorative term for the troublesome 'new sect' who follow the convicted Jesus). Luke, in Acts 11:26, declares that Christians first got their name Christian at Antioch:"
Acts 11:25-26 (DRB) And Barnabas went to Tarsus to seek Saul: whom, when he had found, he brought to Antioch. And they conversed there in the church a whole year; and they taught a great multitude, so that at Antioch the disciples were first named Christians.
To be a Jew is a national identity, and may not be attained through faith in the Messiah alone. But as we read in the New Testament, Gentiles are welcomed into Christ's church without circumcision or Jewish identity (Acts 15:1, 11).
Acts 15:1-12 (DRB) And some coming down from Judea, taught the brethren: That except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved. 2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small contest with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain others of the other side, should go up to the apostles and priests to Jerusalem about this question. 3 They therefore being brought on their way by the church, passed through Phenice, and Samaria, relating the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church, and by the apostles and ancients, declaring how great things God had done with them. 5 But there arose some of the sect of the Pharisees that believed, saying: They must be circumcised, and be commanded to observe the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and ancients assembled to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter, rising up, said to them: Men, brethren, you know, that in former days God made choice among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God, who knoweth the hearts, gave testimony, giving unto them the Holy Ghost, as well as to us; 9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why tempt you God to put a yoke upon the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe to be saved, in like manner as they also. 12 And all the multitude held their peace; and they heard Barnabas and Paul telling what great signs and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
In one sense, the Messiah was sent to the Jews first, but ultimately 'flowed over' into the territory of the nations due to His rejection by His own people (or, virtually all of His people):
Matthew 22:1-14 (DRB) And Jesus answering, spoke again in parables to them, saying: 2 The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. 3 And he sent his servants, to call them that were invited to the marriage; and they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying: Tell them that were invited, Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my beeves and fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come ye to the marriage. 5 But they neglected, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise. 6 And the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death. 7 But when the king had heard of it, he was angry, and sending his armies, he destroyed those murderers, and burnt their city. 8 Then he saith to his servants: The marriage indeed is ready; but they that were invited were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways; and as many as you shall find, call to the marriage. 10 And his servants going forth into the ways, gathered together all that they found, both bad and good: and the marriage was filled with guests. 11 And the king went in to see the guests: and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. 12 And he saith to him: Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment? But he was silent. 13 Then the king said to the waiters: Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
John 1:1, 11 (DRB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ...He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Why are we Christians if Jesus was Jew?
There are a few good reasons for this. One (1) is that the Book of the Acts of the Apostles tells us that it was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were called Christians. And secondly (2) is the fact that the vast majority of believers from the Gentile nations and thus are not of Jewish origin. And thirdly (3) Jesus is the Christ was crucified on the Cross for our salvation and we are his followers.
Yes, Jesus was of Jewish descent, but for the most part Christians are not.
Antioch was called "the cradle of Christianity" as a result of its longevity and the pivotal role that it played in the emergence of both Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity. The Christian New Testament asserts that the name "Christian" first emerged in Antioch.
25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. - Acts 11:25-26
Already the Church in Antioch was acquiring more and more Gentile converts to the Way. Thus the word Christian encompassed followers of the Way, both Jewish or Greek in Antioch.
The largest city of the Roman empire after Rome in Italy and Alexandria in Egypt. Because so many ancient cities were called by this name, it is often called Antioch on the Orontes (River) or Antioch of Syria. Antioch was founded around 300 B.C. by Seleucus Nicator. From the beginning it was a bustling maritime city with its own seaport. It lay about 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean in ancient Syria on the Orontes River nearly three hundred miles north of Jerusalem. Many Jews of the Diaspora lived in Antioch and engaged in commerce, enjoying the rights of citizenship in a free city. Many of Antioch's Gentiles were attracted to Judaism. As was the case with many of the Roman cities of the east, Antioch's patron deity was the pagan goddess Tyche or “Fortune.”
In the New Testament only Jerusalem is more closely related to the spread of early Christianity. Luke mentioned Nicholas of Antioch in Acts 6:5 among the Greek-speaking leaders of the church in Jerusalem. The persecution that arose over Stephen resulted in Jewish believers scattering to Cyprus, Cyrene, and Antioch ( Acts 11:19 ). In Antioch the believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26 ), and it was to Antioch that Barnabas fetched Saul (Paul) from Tarsus so that they could teach this mixed congregation of Jewish and Gentile followers of the Lord. At Antioch the Christian prophet Agabus foretold the famine that would shortly overtake the Roman world (Acts 11:28 ). The disciples responded with the work of famine relief for the church in Jerusalem, directed and carried out from Antioch. The church at Antioch felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to set aside Barnabas and Saul for what was the first organized mission work (Acts 13:1-3 ). Barnabas and Saul left for Seleucia (also known as Pieria, Antioch's Mediterranean seaport) to begin their preaching. The church at Antioch heard the reports of Paul and Barnabas on return from their first missionary journey (Acts 14:27 ) and likely their second missionary journey (Acts 18:22 ). This was a missionary effort to both Jews and Gentiles, about which Paul says in Galatians 2:11 that he had to oppose Peter to his face at Antioch. - Antioch (Holman Bible Dictionary)
I guess we are all Christians, whether we are Jewish, Greek or some others Gentile descent! We are all children of God.
Besides all of the above information, some of us Christians are not even circumcised!