Summary: Paul shows his 1) His Coming, 2) His Companion, 3) His Commission, and 4) His Commendation that he was of one truth and one spirit with the other twelve apostles.
Over this past week’s political campaigning, certain staffers made mistakes, and their mistakes became public. A satirist depicted a puffin bird flying by and droppings falling on a political opponent. Elsewhere, an email sent in response to comments made by the father of a recently killed soldier in Afghanistan became public. In both instances, the party distanced itself from the individuals and their comments. They claimed that they did not speak on behalf of the party nor reflect the party views.
This was the attack made against Paul by the Judaizers. In Galatians Paul continues defending himself against their accusation that he was a self-appointed apostle proclaiming a self-devised message that was different from that of Peter and the other apostles at Jerusalem. He devastatingly argues that, although he received his message independently of the other apostles, he preached a message identical to theirs, a fact they wholeheartedly acknowledged. His gospel was independent in terms of revelation but identical in terms of content.
In our age of independence what difference does it make to be associated with a local congregation? What impact can it have in checking and verifying the orthodoxy of beliefs, for teaching, support or affirmation? Understanding how Paul relates with the Christians in Jerusalem, provide insight into the benefits of being associated and affirmed by other Christians. Galatians 2:1–10 Paul shows his 1) His Coming, 2) His Companion, 3) His Commission, and 4) His Commendation that he was of one truth and one spirit with the other twelve apostles.
1) PAUL’S COMING (Galatians 2:1–2)
Galatians 2:1-2 [2:1]Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. (ESV)
We will spend most of our time on this first point. Each point thereafter will be shorter and shorter. But first, understanding the setting and overall implications:
Paul begins his discourse relating the time that after fourteen years from the first visit when he met Peter and James, he went up again to Jerusalem. During the previous seventeen years he had preached the gospel without any human instruction, his message having been given to him entirely by God’s direct revelation (Gal. 1:11–12, 16–17).
Please turn to Acts 15
It seems probable, as many scholars believe, that this trip of Paul’s again to Jerusalem was for the council (Acts 15) called to resolve the issue, and that again does not linguistically denote a second visit. (William Hendricksen’s New Testament Commentary: Exposition of Galatians [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1971], pp. 69–77.)
According to Acts 15, those professing Jewish Christians from Judea went to Antioch, where Paul and Barnabas were ministering
Acts 15:1-7 [15:1]But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses." The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. (ESV)(Keep you place in Acts 15)
In addition to the leader Paul and his intimate Jewish friend and companion Barnabas, … Titus, a spiritual child of Paul and his co-worker (Titus 1:4–5), went along with me, being among the “some of the others” mentioned by Luke. Titus, as an uncircumcised Gentile and a product of the very ministry the Judaizers were attacking, was a fitting attendee to take along to the council.
• Consistent with their deceitful, self-serving methods of operation, the Judaizers likely claimed they sent the delegation from Antioch to Jerusalem to have Paul’s and Barnabas’s doctrine corrected. But both Luke and Paul make clear that such was not the case. Luke states that they were “sent on their way by the church” at Antioch (v. 3).