5 Minute Read + Scripture readings
TODAY’S BIBLE READING:
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Galatians 2:11–12 (CSB): “But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he stood condemned. For he regularly ate with the Gentiles before certain men came from James. However, when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, because he feared those from 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 about what had just happened.
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. Even though they were not Jews like himself, they were brothers-in-Christ.
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 when they saw Peter eating with non-Jews. So, Peter would rather change tables and eat with Jews than deal with the fallout of eating with non-Jew Christians.
When Peter’s actions influenced 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.
Is the Lord really first place in your life? Do you really value truth over relationships? Do you value long term health over short-term problems?
This would be a great time to reflect on what your priorities really are. Then, look at how you spend your time to see if your priority list is accurate.
Friend, be sure to put Jesus and the truth of Scripture at the top of your list, above everything else. It may cause some problems in the short-term but it always works for long-term health.
Don’t be like Peter as he temporarily revealed a flawed priority list. Care much more for the Lord’s approval and the Gospel than about what others think of you.
Psalm 118:6 (CSB): “The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. What can a mere mortal do to me?”
He who fears God fears no man.