Daily Devotion for February 24, 2015
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
To Turn My Mind to Heavenly Things
Lord Jesus Christ, who returned from this world to the Father and loved those who were here in this world, make my mind turn from worldly preoccupations to the contemplation of heaven, to despise everything transitory and to yearn only for celestial things, and to burn with the glowing fire of your love. And you, Lord, who deemed yourself worthy to wash the feet of your holy apostles with your sacred hands, cleanse also my heart by pouring in the radiance of the Holy Spirit, so that I may be able to love you, our Lord Jesus Christ, in all things and above all else.
A Prayer for Lent
Father in Heaven, the light of your truth bestows sight to the darkness of sinful eyes. May this season of repentance bring me the blessing of Your forgiveness and the gift of Your light. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
O God, I know that if I do not love you with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul and with all my strength, I will love something else with all my mind and heart and soul and strength. Grant that by putting you first in all my desires I will be liberated from all lesser desires, loving you first and foremost. Grant that my loyalties will lie completely with you; and that I will always have you as my first love, my chiefest good, and my final joy.
[Being liberated from lesser desires.]
Lord, in utter humility I thank you and glorify you, that you might hear the prayer of one so small as myself, amidst the billions of souls among billions of stars in one of billions of galaxies in your universe. Let me go forth in your peace, keeping your Spirit always in my mind; and bless me, I pray, that I might always follow your will and live in the radiance of your blessing.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Titus 1:1-2 (ESV)
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.
Galatians 2:11-14 (DP Bible)
11-14 My next meeting with Peter, when he came to Antioch, did not go quite so smoothly. When he first arrived, he showed no reluctance to eat with the Gentile believers in our community. But when a group sent by James arrived, Peter distanced himself from our Gentile members, lest he offend the Jews from Jerusalem. All the Jews then started eating separately -- even Barnabas. This is sheer hypocrisy, an act condemned by the Gospel, and I had no choice but to confront Peter directly.
11 But when came Cephas to Antioch, against face to him I stood up, because condemned was he.
12 For before to have come some people from James with the Gentiles he used to eat together but when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing those from nIdiom, belonging to (as members of a group). circumcised.
13 And they joined-in-hypocrisy with him and the rest of Jews, so that even Barnabas was carried away by of them the hypocrisy oFyi, hypocrisy is a Greek word, hypokrisei, whose component stems mean roughly “under judgment” or “below righteousness”..
14 But when I saw that not they walk correctly pIdiom, act. As in English (especially among Christians), “walk” is used to describe behavior, especially in regard to a particular standard. before the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before all, if you Jewish inherently being in-Gentile-manner and not in-Jewish-manner live, how the Gentiles urge you to live-in-Jewish-manner?
Notes on the Scripture
Paul Chastizes Peter (Galatians #14)
In the preceding verses, we saw Paul being approved and even sanctioned by Peter, John, and James, when he traveled to Jerusalem to present his gospel to them. We could see, even then, that with a vigilant eye Paul guarded his position as their equal . His credibility to the Galatian churches, and his argument that they were following false teachings rather than the Word of God, hinged largely on their acceptance of his claim to be an actual apostle of Christ. For Paul claimed that his teaching was given to him by Christ, directly, in a revelation.
In this famous passage, Paul dispels any notion that he is subordinate to Peter. Paul never claims to be the leader of Christianity; but those who see organizations in hierarchical terms considered Peter the head of the church. Considerable evidence bolstered the concept. Christ had designated him the rock upon which the church would be built, and had given him the “keys to heaven”. (E.g. Matthew 16:18-19)
The Greek in direct translation creates a slightly harsher tone than the passage intends. In verse 11, Paul states that he confronted Peter “because he was (or stood) condemned.” Peter was not condemned in the sense we use the word; he was not destined for hell or sentenced to die by a judge. What Paul conveys is that no judge was needed; the wrongfulness of Peter's action spoke for itself. (Of course, Paul felt obligated to help it along — with considerable extra speech.)
Trying to meld Jews and Greeks into a homogeneous church was like making salad dressing, for they were as compatible as oil and vinegar. Peter, James, Barnabas, and all of the original apostles, had grown up as God-fearing Jews, whose path to God was strict compliance with the Law of Moses. Old habits die hard. And dietary laws were an important, engrained habit. The Jewish Christians, despite their convictions, must have felt great discomfort at eating with Gentiles. Peter, we know, was strongly conflicted; it was only his obedience to God that brought him to baptize Cornelius. (Acts 10)
Moreover, the Council of Jerusalem — when the church officially required acceptance of Gentiles without circumcision — lay several years in the future. Unofficially, Peter understood the innate hypocrisy of practicing Judaism while preaching Christ, at least when it caused a division in the church. One might infer than James was slow to accept it — and it was not an issue that arose in Jerusalem, the center of Judaism, to the degree it did in Antioch, a Greek city.Antioch is and was in Syria, a long way from Greece; but Greek culture so dominated the civilized Western world in the years after Alexander the Great that much of the world was “Greek”, from Spain to Persia and North Africa. Latin was spoken only in central Italy. city. (Acts 15)
There is no indication that Peter protested Paul's correction. While it is easy to view the goings-on of the early church in a framework of secular politics, power, and pride, we must always remember that Peter and Paul were profoundly convicted Christians who sought humility with utter sincerity. (And how happy we would be, if all subsequent church leaders emulated this trait.) They had to fight their pride — and likely, Peter more successfully than Paul!
Friday, after a good deal of preparatory material about the often perplexing relationship of Christ and the Law of Moses, we will dig into the substance of Paul's argument, which forms the central theological message of Galatians — and Christianity itself.