Three years after he was born again Paul traveled to Jerusalem to meet with Peter. Then between A.D. 37 and A.D. 51 Paul preached the gospel to the Gentiles throughout Syria and Cilicia for fourteen years before he was accepted by the other apostles in Jerusalem.
“1 Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also.” (Galatians 2:1)
During this trip to Jerusalem, with Barnabas and Titus, Paul addressed circumcision and the fact salvation is based on God’s grace rather than the Jewish law.
Paul had met Barnabas, Jewish for “son of encouragement” briefly in Jerusalem following his conversion. Titus was a convert of Paul’s, a Greek uncircumcised believer.
“2 I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.” (Galatians 2:2)
Christ revealed to Paul the need to return to Jerusalem where the other apostles could validate his mission to preach to the Gentiles. Paul had been communicating privately with the elders of the church in Jerusalem so to maintain unity according to the one and only gospel.
“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 brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves.” (Galatians 2:3-4)
The Jewish law required for men to be circumcised however Paul’s mission was one to the Gentiles, teaching them that the Jewish law did not lead to salvation but to spiritual starvation.
Paul mentions false teaching whereas circumcision was required to be accepted in the family of God. The apostle clearly indicates he, not those with him gave in to such blasphemy thus continuing to believe and serve as the uncircumcised.
“5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.” (Galatians 2:5)
Paul then speaks of the leaders of Christ’ church in Jerusalem, Peter, James and John as “those who seemed important.” The apostle describes their contribution to his ministry or his faith as minimal.
“6 As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message.” (Galatians 2:6)
Paul then describes how his ministry had a positive impact on church leaders in Jerusalem, and how his gift to preach the gospel to the Gentiles had been given by God just as Christ gave wisdom, knowledge and power to Peter.
“7 On the contrary, they saw that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as Peter had been to the Jews. 8 For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.” (Galatians 2:7-8)
After fourteen years of ministry Paul was finally accepted at a church leader. He and Barnabas were recognized as leaders among the Gentiles. The “right hand of fellowship” was a sign of friendship and acceptance, which in this case showed full recognition of Paul’s ministry.
“9 James, Peter and John, those reputed to be 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 Jews.” (Galatians 2:9)
It is important to note though separated by creed, both the Jews and Gentiles received the same gospel, that salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ and that sanctification is grown from the seeds of works that glorify God.
“10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10)
Here Paul mentions the poor, those struggling amidst a famine throughout Judea, for them to be remembered and accounted for among the Gentiles.
In this scripture we find out Paul waited fourteen years for acceptance among his peers. His determination to preach the gospel should be an inspiration to all of us. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
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