In Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas revealed to the apostles and church elders the tremendous success of their missionary journey throughout Asia Minor during which many believed and were born again of faith in the risen Christ.
However, there were a group of Christians of Jewish origin who spread rumors involving circumcision, a tradition associated with Jewish customs of the Mosaic law. This prompted a discussion among the Council in Jerusalem, then a letter addressed to the newly converted Gentiles.
“22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren.” (Acts 15:22)
Paul and Barnabas’ account of the fulfillment of God’s plan pleased the disciples and church elders in Jerusalem, which prompted them to send, along with their letter, Barsabas and Silas with the missionaries back to Antioch, to comfort the new believers and reassure them circumcision was not a sacrifice that would be required of them.
“23 They wrote this letter by them: The apostles, the elders, and the brethren, To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia: Greetings.” (Acts 15:23)
The apostles and church elders identify themselves as the authors of the letter meant to encourage and comfort new believers of Gentile roots.
“24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.” (Acts 15:24-27)
The letter from Jerusalem made reference to the trouble caused by circumcision, a Jewish tradition that had stemmed controversy among the church. The apostles and elders reassured the new believers that no such command came from God, and that salvation came from faith alone, not works. This reassurance was not only delivered in writing, but also through the testimony of church leaders in Barsabas and Silas.
“28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” (Acts 15:28-29)
The apostles and church elders cited it was the Holy Spirit that led them to write the letter of reassurance, and to place no additional burden on new believers.
It was also the Spirit who called the apostles and church elders to remind new believers of God’s commands regarding Christian behavior, which calls on disciples of the resurrected Christ to walk in Jesus’ footsteps and strive to live righteous lives as each believer walks the narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Luke,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre