All in the family - Hope 103.2

All in the family

By David ReayFriday 9 Jun 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Galatians 2:11-14

11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. 12 When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile believers, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. 13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? (NLT)

Any family has its share of disagreements and disputes. The early church was no exception. The issue being mentioned here was that of the extent to which Jewish customs were to be imposed on non-Jewish Christians.

Paul takes Peter to task about this in a face-to-face confrontation. Peter, who really initiated ministry to non-Jews when he met Cornelius in the book of Acts, seemed to be trying to please too many people at once. He reverted to Jewish practices when Jewish Christians were around but at other times followed Gentile practices.

It appears that Peter, the bold apostle who was earlier imprisoned for his impassioned defence of the faith, was compromising that same faith. The man of courage had a weak spot. No matter how bold or wise we may be, we have chinks in our armour. Paul found Peter’s chink.

And yet, they were fundamentally on the same side. It was an important issue and Paul felt entitled to take a firm stance on it. But we gather it was eventually resolved despite it causing some concern at the time.

We in the church can expect family disagreements. It is good to be upfront about issues of significance. A church without conflict is not usually a healthy church. It may be a church in denial, a peace-at-any-price sort of church. The issue is not whether we will have conflict, but how we resolve the conflict. The other issue is whether we think a particular matter is worth confrontation. On this occasion, Paul figured that it was worth it. It is hard to disagree with him.

David Reay

Hope 103.2 is proudly supported by