Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. (Acts 11:19-26)
Many people from a different cultural background in Antioch the capital of the province of Syria were now coming to faith in Yeshu.
As a result, perhaps as a Greek nickname spreading around in the large city, believers were being called Christians ( khi r’i’ si tho pa ) , meaning Messiah-men (ma shi ga pa) .
They were people of the Way, those who had chosen the short way of salvation (thar pa’ lam ) through the Saviour Yeshu who had said, “I am the Way”. They were Yeshu-men ( ye shu pa ).