Saturday, 5 March 2016
And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy. Galatians 2:13
In the previous verse, it was seen that Peter began to withdraw from fellowship with the Gentiles because of the presence of some Jews who came from James. As Peter withdrew, “the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him.”
Peter was considered a pillar and a leader. In his move to apostasy, the other Jews followed ranks as well. They feared that they would lose the approval of other Jews, caring more about what man thought than what Christ offered to them. This became such a strong movement among the Jews “that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.”
Barnabas had traveled with Paul on a missionary journey, evangelizing Jew and Gentile. He had received the commission for this while at Antioch. The commission and the missionary journey fill all of Acts 13 & 14 and their work comprised countless miles and encompassed a host of areas. Both Jew and Gentile were preached to and there was intimate fellowship with all who received the gospel. Through all of this, Barnabas had seen the power of the Holy Spirit and had been a close participant in all that occurred.
In verse 2:5, Paul noted that Barnabas had held fast through previous challenges by the false apostles. He stood strong and defended the gospel of Christ. If anyone should have had the conviction to stand against Peter’s hypocrisy, one would think it would be him. But such was not the case. He weakened in his devotion to the truth of the gospel and fell back on the law.
Life application: No person is above waffling on his convictions. We may think we are an unyielding iron wall, but the Bible bears out that even the heartiest soul can falter. Paul’s words of 1 Corinthians 10 should be heeded by all –
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13
Heavenly Father, there are times when we are weakened in our convictions and in our principles. And the truth is that none of us is above this. And so help us to follow the avenue of escape which you have promised to always provide for us. Help us to be strong and morally grounded, but when we are weak, help us to flee from the temptations which arise. Surely it is better to run from trouble like Joseph than to let temptation overtake like David. Be with us in this, O God. Amen.