MAY 26 READING…ACTS 15
There were certain converted Jews who began to teach that the Gentiles were required to keep the law in order to be saved. They needed to trust in Jesus, and they needed to be circumcised and keep the law. This created a dispute with Paul and Barnabas. The issue was brought to the church council in Jerusalem. They met some opposition to grace alone for salvation by a group of Pharisees who had trusted in Jesus. They wanted to require the Gentiles to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. When the apostles came together it was Peter who stood up and spoke the truth that uncircumcised Gentiles had trusted in Jesus, and had received the Holy Spirit. He calls them to common sense about the Gentiles, asking why would the church put a yoke on them that no Jew was able to carry. Paul and Barnabas stood and spoke of the conversions and miracles that God had done through the new Gentile believers. James the half brother of Jesus used the Old Testament Prophet Amos to speak of God’s plan to call the Gentiles to Himself. Finally, the counsel at Jerusalem declared that the Gentiles neither needed to be circumcised or keep the law of Moses in order to be saved. They were charged with refraining from things offered to idols, from drinking blood in their food, and from sexual immorality.
Paul and Barnabas brought the report to Antioch and the church rejoiced. This though incited a group of Judaizers in the church to begin to oppose the counsel and the true apostles of Jesus. Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for a long period of time preaching and teaching Jesus. They decided to go back and visit the cities they had already been to, in order to encourage the believers. Barnabas was determined to take John Mark with them, remember he had abandoned Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Paul had no use for John Mark, and this caused great contention between Paul and Barnabas. So, Barnabas took John Mark, and Paul took Silas with him. Sometimes we cannot work with some people, it does not have to be a point of contention, because just like how God worked through these two groups of men, He can work through us when we need to be separated for certain people. We just need to remember not to separate because of hatred, and we need to continue to love and pray for those we must be separated from.
Please share your thoughts from today’s reading.
TOMORROW’S READING…ACTS 16