Pastor Jon Alexanian
For the last couple weeks we’ve been looking at Paul’s letter to the Galatian church – a letter that radically changed the course of human history. The first week we talked about the great tug of war the early church found itself in as it wrestled with the implications of Jesus’ ministry on the lives of his followers, and how we are still wrestling with those same implications today. Last week, we looked at where Paul got his ideas for this letter from. We learned how over a period of only a few days Paul’s understanding of the entire Old Testament was transformed, and how he spent years refining his arguments in Tarsus before having them affirmed by the leaders in Jerusalem.
This week, we read about an odd exchange between one of those leaders and Paul himself – none other than the Apostle Peter. Now if you remember, Peter is one of the great pillars of the faith. This was one of Jesus’ earliest followers, so zealous in his faith and trust of Jesus that he walked on water, healed in his name, declared that he would never abandon Jesus (even though Jesus knew otherwise), and this was the same Peter that on the Day of Pentecost stood and proclaimed the Gospel to all of Jerusalem. This was also the same guy that had an incredibly dramatic dream and experience in Acts 10 and 11, whereby God made it clear that non-Jews were to be accepted as part of God’s new family group without exception.
So what happened with Peter? As Paul describes it, Peter seems to have forgotten his experiences with Jesus, his own incredible experience with Cornelius in Acts 10, and has somehow given in to the peer-pressure of other Jews? It’s a really weird story, and clearly Paul has his own bent on what happened. But the question is, why did Peter cave? Was he wrong? I mean this is Peter we’re talking about, shouldn’t we at least give him the benefit of the doubt? Well that’s what we are going to endeavor to do this week.
See you Sunday!