Week of September 17 2023
"Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up according to a revelation and presented to them the gospel I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those recognized as leaders. I wanted to be sure I was not running, and had not been running, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us. But we did not give up and submit to these people for even a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would be preserved for you.
Now from those recognized as important (what they once were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism)—they added nothing to me. On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter was for the circumcised, since the one at work in Peter for an apostleship to the circumcised was also at work in me for the Gentiles. When James, Cephas, and John—those recognized as pillars—acknowledged the grace that had been given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to me and Barnabas, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only that we would remember the poor, which I had made every effort to do."
1) We see in this passage that Paul went to meet face-to-face with the Jerusalem apostles to settle a quarrel in the church. Why was it essential that he did that?
2) What should be the response to "false brothers" and who should respond to them?
3) How are the ideas of unity and partnership significant in this passage? For ministry today?
4) How does the Gospel help you see yourself clearly? How does this perspective change the way that we interact with others?
Prayer: Pray that you would be a person marked by faithful gospel proclamation and compassion for the poor.
Face-to-face is the key to resolving offenses, quarrels, and differences of opinion..not text-to-text or email-to-email 😠. What an opportunity for Paul.
I agree texts and emails allow you time to consider your words and clearly state and organize your thoughts, offences, or defenses. (Just like I'm doing with this comment). Besides, you don't have to "face" your "adversary."
And that is just the point...face-to-face. You SEE their face. You read their sincerity or insincerity; their empathy or apathy; their hurt or anger; their need for gentle words or direct reproof. None of this is available in a text.
I confess that my attitude toward a person often colors my interpretation of the text. "Are they really offering advice to help me or are they being critical?" "Oh yeah they say their sorry for the hateful comment but I see right through that!"
Finally, as with Paul, meeting in person (and there have been times this is the last thing I want to do😓) reflects a resolve to meet with, discuss, listen and learn, and possibly ask for or give forgiveness. It's a humbling experience but shows your heart.
It appears to me Paul felt encouraged and strengthened by his face-to-face meeting with the PILLARS, and they were probably excited that the mission field was opening up to the world! Pretty sure more was accomplished than with a text.
Hope this "text" made sense🤔😆