S - Galatians 2:11-13 But when Cephas (Peter) came to Antioch, I protested and opposed him to his face [concerning his conduct there], for he was blameable and stood condemned. For up to the time that certain persons came from James, he ate his meals with the Gentile [converts]; but when the men [from Jerusalem] arrived, he withdrew and held himself aloof from the Gentiles and [ate] separately for fear of those of the circumcision [party]. And the rest of the Jews along with him also concealed their true convictions and acted insincerely, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy (their example of insincerity and pretense). (AMP)
O/A-- This is a painful contrast to the heartwarming expression of unity that we saw in verse 9. Paul says in our text, "I opposed him to his face." "Opposed" is from the Greek word anthistemi, which carries the meaning of: "hindering or forbidding." This is an act of incredible courage. Paul stood face-to-face with Peter and rebuked him in front of everyone.
Considering who Peter was, this took a lot of guts. Peter was a heavy weight in the church, and people loved him and admired him and respected him for his work in the church and among the Jews of his day. And yet, Paul has no problem in confronting this beloved apostle and rebukes him to his face for what would be a denial of the true gospel. This is what Paul means when he says at the end of verse 11, "...because he stood condemned."
The NIV says, "because he was clearly in the wrong." This is a very weak interpretation of what our text actually says. The KJV and NKJV puts it: "to be blamed." The Greek word is kataginosko, and it could literally be translated: "condemned." And so, the NASB correctly translates this as: "he stood condemned." What this means is that just as a criminal is found guilty of a crime and has been proven to be wrong in a court of law, Peter has been found guilty of a wrong which can be proved.
"...he used to eat with the Gentiles" - So here's a problem: Every Jew knew that to deviate from such diet laws made them feel guilty of being out of favor with God. But it went one step further, because any Jew worth anything would not even consider eating a holy meal with an unholy Gentile.
The Lord was giving Peter a vision: Acts 10:9-16 – This is a tremendously important turning point for Peter. He now saw Jews and Gentiles as one in the Church of Jesus Christ. And he realized that he could eat whatever he liked. Peter's experience prepared him to go to Antioch and to freely fellowship with all of the brothers and sisters there in the church.
“For up to the time that certain persons came from James..”--Who were these men, and what did they do to influence Peter? Peter feared this group. Why? We don't exactly know, but we can speculate;
What would they think about him? What would they tell James when they got back to Jerusalem? Would he be ruined back at the office?
All of these thoughts may have run through Peter's mind, and he slowly pushed his plate away from in front of him. Peter lost his smile. Peter lost his joy. Peter lost his liberty. He turned his back on his new friends.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.Peter feared these men, so he compromised his convictions, even though he knew it was wrong. God had personally shown Peter that it was okay to eat with Gentiles. But his fear of men weakened his faith in God. And worst of all, his bad example caused the other Jewish Christians to follow his example.
Paul goes on to tell us that Peter's hypocrisy spread like gangrene to others. The hypocrisy of their actions was based on the fact that what they still believed, they had ceased to practice. They had not deliberately departed from right doctrine; they had simply deviated from it in practice. What they were doing was effectively driving the church apart! Their teachings and actions were erecting a wall between Jew and Gentile.
- Are we like Peter? When was the last time fear tainted our faith? When was the last time fear caused us to shrink away from what was right so that we could avoid discomfort?When was the last time fear led us to push away people that God had led into our life?
P – Father, I thank you and praise you for your Word, Lord help us to walk in the freedom and liberty you have given us, to not separate ourselves from our brothers and sisters in Christ because of the food they eat or the 'rules' they believe are holy. As long as we all are in Christ Jesus we have freedoms and liberty we do not deserve—help us to not abuse them. Thank for the blood of your son that makes it possible, and may we keep you in our hearts and let your Holy Spirit guide us into all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Please feel free to Share anything God is showing you in the study in the comment section or privately. I would love to hear from you.
With Love in Christ, Blessings to you,