When [Peter] came to Antioch, I [Paul] opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to [Peter] in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? Galatians 2:11-14
Hello friends! Today’s scripture is an excerpt from Paul’s letter to the ancient Galatian church in the Bible and it reveals something sensational: Did you know that Paul fought Peter!? You can learn more about this event in my new series “The Disruptive Gospel” where I’m seeing more and more how God’s blessings almost always disrupt our plans. Now let’s get back to the main event. Even though they didn’t fight physically, they did exchange verbal blows and this was kind of a big deal! Jesus’ greatest command to his followers was that we love one another. So how is it that the two biggest pillars of the early church could come to such a point of disagreement. The Gospel brings peace. The Gospel preaches God’s love and unity and healing for the nations through the sacrificial death of God’s Son along with the forgiveness that accompanies heartfelt repentance. But despite all those wonderful products of God’s working in the world, one thing we often miss is the means by which they come. God’s remaking of us in his image is a process. That process isn’t always an easy one. Therefore, the Gospel also poses a problem for our selfishness, dysfunction, hypocrisy, inflexibility and comfort levels. In short, the Gospel is also DISRUPTIVE. The Gospel disrupts our patterns with God’s purpose. God’s great news disrupted our expectations with the cross. Previously God gave Peter a vision of how he accepts all people through faith in Jesus. Yet Peter fell back into his normal patterns when his friends were around. So Paul was compelled to do something. But don’t miss this point: Paul wasn’t passionate about being disruptive. He was passionate about the Gospel. And sometimes the Gospel disrupts. What’s our takeaway? In today’s terminology, don’t get so concerned with pleasing people, finding respect, seeing wishes granted or feeling comfortable that you miss out on the blessings of knowing God above all else. Paul was crazy passionate about the Gospel and that’s why he could find the contentment that so many others miss. The good news for you is the same contentment awaits. All you need to do is put your heart in the right place and you won’t miss out on all the good things Jesus has in store for you today!
Did you ever know that Peter fought with Paul? What are your thoughts on the conflict?
Have you ever found yourself in a conflict with someone else? What were you passionate about in the moment?
What can you do to be more passionate about the things that are close to God’s heart? How might that kind of passion make a difference for Jesus in someone else’s life?