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Prepare

Slow down. Get ready to listen to God.

Bible passage

Galatians 2:1–10

Paul accepted by the apostles

2 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

As for those who were held in high esteem – whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favouritism – they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognised that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognised the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

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Don’t rush in… You know that urgent impulse you have to tell others what you believe God is showing you? Wait. Learn from Paul. 

The Galatians needed to know that Paul wasn’t a crazy, rogue preacher (1:6–9). So, he tells them how (vs 1,2), after much time to reflect, he had explained his call to church leaders in Jerusalem, humbly making his case and seeking their validation (v 9). He had gone to that meeting at God’s prompting (v 2) and had taken trusted others to stand with him: Titus, an uncircumcised Gentile convert, and Barnabas, whose nickname meant ‘encourager’ (Acts 4:36).

Titus’ presence with Paul provided an important cue to explain the freedom that believers now had in Christ (vs 3–5). Significantly for the future of the young church, its leaders – James, Peter and John, once puzzled by Christ’s welcome of Gentiles (eg Matthew 15:21–28; Acts 10) – now recognised and accepted Paul’s message of grace to the Gentiles (vs 7– 9), as Peter’s call to the Jews had been (v 7). So, Paul can assure the Galatian Christians that his teaching is validated by the church leaders in Jerusalem (v 9).

‘To remember the poor’ may seem just an afterthought (v 10). But it was, and is, a strengthening force for uniting believers (Jew and Gentile) as the church spreads out from Jerusalem (eg Romans 15:26,27).
 

Author
'Tricia Williams

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