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Galatians 2:1-14 (NIV)
Paul Accepted by the Apostles
2 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.
6 As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. 7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. 8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. 9 James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.
Paul Opposes Cephas
11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
Two cases of submission–who to whom?
Lord, sometimes as Christians, we get caught up in the legalities of our religious traditions and how things are done. Even worse, we sometimes can be judgmental to different styles of worship by other Christian denominations. Peter gave the impression that it was not enough to be a Christian, but he was saying people had to also keep following the traditional Jewish customs. Paul, on the other hand, demonstrated that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection fulfilled all the Jewish requirements. In the same way, Your forgiveness and resurrection are all we need to be Your followers today. Your great love embraces all who put their faith in Christ, without distinction. The gospel is not ours but Yours. Lord, open our hearts and minds to share Your gospel to all who want to hear. Although traditions can be comforting to us, they may not help and can even push away newer believers. Allow us to be flexible to step out of our comfort zone for the good of Your church while standing firm in Your Word. Help us to praise You openly, focused only on You and Your message of Grace. Amen.