BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
PAUL CONFRONTS PETER
In those early days in the Christian Church, it became a custom of the congregation to gather together weekly for a common meal that they called “The Agape Feast”, or, “Love Feast”. This meal was made possible by a pooling together of various dishes that were provided by the church members who could afford it. For many of the poor members, this became the only descent meal that they would get all week. In a very special way, this meal represented a moment of togetherness and fellowshipping for Christians of all races, and on all social, and economic levels.
In Galatians 2:11-12, it was just such an occasion that Paul is speaking of, when he had to confront Peter and Barnabas about their hypocritical behavior and attitude toward Gentile Christians. Here Paul tells of a time when Peter, Barnabas, and some other Jewish Christians, even though they had dined with the Gentile Christians earlier, when their fellow Jewish Christian leaders arrived at the feast, they began to shun the Gentile Christians, for fear of what those fellow Jewish legalists might say about socializing with Gentiles.
This act by Peter, and by Barnabas, who were both leaders in the church, led other Jewish Christians to join them in their hypocrisy. Paul, seeing that Peter and the others were not following the truth of the Gospel of CHRIST, confronted Peter and rebuked him publicly in front of all the others, because he was the “ringleader” and his offense against CHRIST’s teachings was committed publicly.
In essence, Peter was guilty of rebuilding the old Jewish system of thinking (Judaism) that they had been trying so desperately to move away from. They were trying to be a light for those who were seeking something to believe in, and the new movement toward CHRIST JESUS was taking root all around the world as they knew it, at that time.
Paul understood early on, that a church will cease to be Christian if it contains class distinctions, or anything else, that was contrary to the actions and attitude of JESUS HIMSELF. In GOD’s presence, a man’s race is meaningless. He is neither regal, nor less-than, and he is neither rich nor poor, but rather, “he is only a sinner for which CHRIST has died”.
All but CHRIST has failed to reach the goal that GOD originally set for us when he made us in HIS OWN “spiritual image”, by giving us the attributes of HIS OWN nature. However, through HIS grace and mercy HE has since introduced us to a great and relatively easy way to get back into a relationship of friendship with HIM, whereby HE could adopt any man, woman, or child into the “Family of GOD”.
It is the blood of CHRIST that allows us to walk into the store of GOD and pick up a “free” bottle of “Faith”. And we can take it home and use it to spray some “Hope” on our unclean mirrors, and for the first time, begin to see ourselves as we really are. And with our newfound “Love”, we can turn ourselves around, and begin walking in the “newness of life” that can only be found, in CHRIST JESUS.
That is why Paul says that Faith, Hope, and Love are the three great enduring things, and of the three, Love is the greatest (1 cor. 13:13). When we are seeking something to believe in, we should seek GOD, the FATHER of our LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, and GOD promises that if we do, through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT, we will certainly find HIM.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website