Summary: Paul and Peter were in different keys. Actually Peter was out of synch with the Gospel itself and Paul has to confront him to his face about his hypocrisy.
Learning to Dance: Face Off
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
Last Sunday was simply amazing! The “miracle man” Mark Johnson was able to worship with us and I was overjoyed to see the church respond with such love for him.
And it was such an honor to baptize Jared, who was in our youth group all those years ago, Heidi, who is a beautiful trophy of grace, and Taylor and Lane! In fact, after service, Lane was walking around the auditorium saying, “I’m pumped!”
It was perfect. Well…not exactly. We began our service with a new song called “Death was Arrested” and it was a disaster. I literally couldn’t find the note to begin the song. Something was wrong but none of us could figure out what was going on.
As we began the second verse, it clicked. I knew why I couldn’t find the note. I was playing in capo 3 which is F. I had printed out the music in F for Beth but didn’t tell her before service. (This was my fault not Beth’s) So she was playing in B Flat. You don’t have to understand music to get that F and B Flat don’t go together. That’s why we couldn’t find the note.
The piano and guitar were not in synch so it was nearly impossible to find the note to start the song.
While that was frustrating last week, it provides the perfect introduction to today’s verses. Paul and Peter were in different keys. Actually Peter was out of synch with the Gospel itself and Paul has to confront him to his face about his hypocrisy.
Paul vs Judaizers
We are too far into our study of Galatians to recap everything. I would encourage you to go to our Facebook page and watch any of the sermons you missed.
Last week, Paul zeroed in on a private meeting in Jerusalem with James, Peter and John. He laid out the Gospel that he had been preaching for 17 years to the Gentiles and even brought a real live test case with him - Titus, a bacon-loving, BBQ smoking, Greek Gentile Christian.
The Judaizers were hoping to drive a wedge between Paul and the Jerusalem apostles but failed miserably. Titus was not compelled to be circumcised and Paul was offered the right hand of fellowship to affirm his Gospel to the Gentiles. All they asked was that he remembered the poor, something he was eager to do.
Turn with me to Galatians 2. We will begin this week in verses 11-14 and take 15-21 next week.
Let’s Set the Scene
When the meeting between Paul and the Jerusalem apostles was over, Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch and then Paul left for an undetermined amount of time. While Paul was gone, Peter arrived at Antioch. This visit may have been official or he may have just been curious to see what was going on in the Christian community there.
Antioch was the third largest city in the Roman Empire and was a cosmopolitan city north of Israel in Syria. (Not to be confused with Antioch in Galatia. Like Pontiac, IL and Pontiac, Michigan). It had an arena and a library.
Paul and Barnabas used Antioch as their home base for their missionary journeys. It had become the “Gentile Jerusalem,” the center of Christianity outside of Judea. In fact, it was at Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians.” This was meant as an insult - you guys are acting like little Christs but the believers embraced this term.
It was a mainly Greek city but about 10% of the 250,000 people that lived there were Jewish.
Can you imagine Peter arriving at Antioch? He must have been treated like a rock star! This is Peter, the first disciple called, one of Jesus’ best friends. He walked on water, saw the transfiguration, saw the empty tomb, and preached the first sermon where 3,000 people were born again, and news of his raising Tabitha from the dead must have spread like wildfire. They probably were eager to hear his stories and he settled in for an extended stay.
Let’s look at the how Paul describes what happened next:
“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.” (Gal 2:11)
Paul cuts right to the chase. When Peter, (Cephus is Aramaic for Peter), cam to Antioch, Paul confronted him to his face because whatever he was doing was worthy of condemnation from God. This phrase “opposed him to his face” means to stop someone in the the direction they are going. Paul stopped Peter in his tracks.
This is one of the most tense and dramatic episodes in all the Bible. Two apostles squaring off like Ali-Liston in the Thrilla in Manilla.