DAY 7 - GALATIANS
March 7, 2023
And the leaders of the church had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their reputation as great leaders made no difference to me, for God has no favorites.) Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles. In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews. Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.
At the beginning of this text, it sounds as if Paul is downplaying the apostles’ leadership and importance when he says “their reputation as great leaders makes no difference to me, God has no favorites.” But Paul is merely saying that God’s grace levels us all. It does not matter to Paul who Peter, James, and John once were. All that matters is the grace they’ve received and the gospel they proclaim. Paul, again, is seeking unity in the message of the gospel.
The Jerusalem Conference began with a great possibility for division and dissension, yet it ended with cooperation and agreement. Peter, James, and John (all circumcised Jewish Christians) recognized Paul’s ministry as effective and valid. Paul took the gospel to the uncircumcised. Peter took the gospel to the circumcised. Same message, different people groups, Jesus unifying the world around his good news.
And don’t miss verse 10 where they move from the theological to the practical - helping the poor. Certainly, these things go together, but correct doctrine is never a substitute for loving others!
1. Do you think Paul would find modern Christian rules more justifiable than the Jewish ones he opposed?
2. How can you practice the same unity displayed in these verses? How is God calling you to work with others to build His church?