Categories: Sermons

Meditate On This: Annoyed

Prior to leaving for the second missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas are sent to Jerusalem to because of some teaching that has gained momentum. The teaching was that, unless the Gentiles were circumcised, they could not be saved. Paul and Barnabas were brought into this because they were teaching the opposite of this. They were merely doing whatever it took to bring more Gentiles into the Kingdom of God. 

This conflict or disagreement arises because, at our core, we want others to experience what we went through to get to where we are. That is exactly what the God-fearing Pharisees were arguing for. They wanted those who came after them to experience what they had to experience in order to obtain their salvation. Itis here that Peter enters the chat. 

Peter begins to speak in order to clarify things. First, Peter reminds them that God wants the Gentiles to be as much a part of the church as they are. God does not discriminate. How do we know God wants this? They too were given the Holy Spirit! By requiring the Gentiles to go through all of these hoops, Peter informs them that they are placing a yoke upon them that neither they nor their ancestors could bear. This point is crucial in this debate because Peter is reminding them that they didn’t earn their salvation, either. There is no amount of work that could equate to earning salvation. The Gentiles will never be able to do it, and neither can we. 

The sermon ended with Peter declaring that they should not do anything to make it difficult for the Gentiles who want to turn to God. Instead of placing a burden upon those who want to be apart of God’s family, we should be celebrating that they want to be a part of it. It’s easy for us to want others to experience what we did, but an individual with a different journey does not lessen or water-down ours. Rather, it’s a reminder that we all have different paths and that we are all invited to the same table.