In yesterday’s devotion we were with the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Galatians. There we witnessed him defending his ministry and message about Christ, through the use of his testimony. Paul’s letters to the church in Galatia were meant to preserve the Truth of the gospel message of Jesus Christ against the false teachers at the time.
In today’s passage, we move into the second chapter of Galatians. Here, we witness a meeting between Paul and the other Apostles in Jerusalem. Remember, these Apostles had traveled and walked with Jesus during His ministry on earth. Paul, on the other hand, received his message from Jesus after His death, he never physically met Jesus or walked with Him, like the other Apostles. Today, we learn that Paul brought with him Barnabas who was a Jewish Christian and known to the Apostles, and Titus who was a Gentile Christian and unknown to the Apostles. Keep in mind, that Paul had been preaching to the Gentiles, and Titus was proof of the power of Christ’s salvation through the gospel message that he had heard from Paul. Titus was also not circumcised, and the Apostles accepted him as he was, a brother in Christ, and did not demand that he be circumcised.
There are many takeaways from today’s passage, but one that stands out to me can be summed up in Paul’s words that are to come in the third chapter of Galatians: “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” (v. 28-29)
Friends, we need to be very careful to only judge our own faith walk and relationship with Jesus. Remember, He welcomes all who are willing to accept His gospel message and walk in salvation with Him. Each walk is different, each person is different, but Jesus remains the same. So, the next time we want to judge another person’s faith walk, or their relationship with or without Jesus, we need to remember who God chose to write almost half of the New Testament…Paul. Jesus forgave and loved Paul just as much as He forgave and loved the other Apostles who walked with Him (and that means He forgives and loves us the same). God also used Paul in today’s passage to bring together the unlikely, the likely, the Jews, the Gentiles, the circumcised, and the un-circumcised…all to reveal that WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN! We need to treat people like Jesus would treat them and love them towards the open and loving arms of Jesus.
Galatians 2:1-10 NLT
The Apostles Accept Paul
1Then fourteen years later I went back to Jerusalem again, this time with Barnabas; and Titus came along, too. 2 I went there because God revealed to me that I should go. While I was there I met privately with those considered to be leaders of the church and shared with them the message I had been preaching to the Gentiles. I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing. 3 And they supported me and did not even demand that my companion Titus be circumcised, though he was a Gentile.
4 Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. 5 But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. We wanted to preserve the truth of the gospel message for you.
6 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.) 7 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. 8 For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.
9 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. 10 Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for loving each of us the same. Help us to love like You love. Forgive us when we judge someone else. Give us Your heart to love like You love, Your eyes to see people how You see them, and guide us with Your wise Holy Spirit to speak words You would say. We ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.