DAILY BIBLE READING:
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Galatians 2:11-12 “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party.”
REFLECTIONS ON BIBLE VERSE(S):
Our Verses for Today are interesting. The situation that they recount would have been tense. After Paul confronted Peter in front of all of the people in the room, the silence would have been so loud that you could hear the grass growing outside. Then, little groups would have formed as people whispered their opinions of the matter.
In our present cultural Christianity (in America), we have watered down real Christianity. Real Christianity, as presented in the Bible, is saturated with love but it also is unafraid to stand up for what is right, even if it means that someone gets embarrassed and has to make adjustments in their actions and beliefs.
In Galatians 2:11-14, we read that the Apostle Peter, a powerful influential leader in the Jerusalem church, made a trip to Antioch to visit a gathering of believers. Those believers happened to be Gentiles (non-Jews).
Peter had come to realize that at the foot of the cross, there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile (Acts 10, esp. vs. 34; Galatians 3:28). So, as a Jewish follower of Jesus, he sat down to eat with Gentile Jesus-followers.
Yet, Paul tells us that when Jews from the Jerusalem church arrived, Peter got up and left the table of Gentiles and ate with the Jews. Paul leads us to believe that Peter’s motive was the fear of the Jewish believers. They would have been appalled that he was eating with non-Jews and he would rather just eat with Jews than deal with the fallout of his actions.
When Peter’s actions and influence led other Jews to leave the table of the Gentiles, Paul spoke up. Essentially, they feared men more than they loved the Lord and the Gospel. Being motivated that way, they were distorting the Gospel and failing to make use of a powerful teaching moment.
Make a priority list. What comes first in your life? What’s second? What’s third?
This is important because your priorities determine your beliefs and your behaviors. Peter, at least temporarily, put the fear of man above the fear of God and it caused him to make a sinful decision. So, write out your priorities and keep them in front of you. Ask the Lord to help you in this.
Here is the priority list I strive to live by:
2. My wife
3. My sons
4. My church
5. Etc., etc., etc.
In other words, if something lower on the list tries to take priority over something higher on the list, then I will seek the Lord’s guidance. It may be that I have to temporarily put a family event on hold because of a church need. Maybe, a quiet time with Jesus is temporarily put on hold because of a family problem that needs to be addressed. But, generally speaking, my priorities are set.
Specifically, in regard to the theme of today’s post, I will not put others above Jesus. I will not crave the affirmation of others and care little for Jesus’ affirmation. That’s because my priority list places Jesus far above others. If, as I follow Him, others are offended and get upset at me, then so be it.
Don’t be like Peter. Care much more for the Lord’s approval and the Gospel than about what others think of you.
Psalm 118:6 (ESV) “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
He who fears God fears no man.
DAILY BIBLE READING: