Galatians 2:6-10 KJV (NIV Link below)
6But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:
7But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
10Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Equal Grounding in the Gospel
In the Church, everyone is equal. God does not play favorites. While there are certainly roles and gifts that God gives to people, whether to be a teacher or an administrator or some other act of service, in Christ, all are equal regardless of your past. It doesn’t matter who you were or what you’ve done; what matters in the Church is who you are. The Jewish people, the circumcised, were the chosen people of God. The gentiles were the newcomers. Still, as many a pastor has said, “the ground at the foot of the cross is level.” This theme will come up again in Galatians. For now, let us remember that the gospel is the gospel no matter who you are.
Even though they understood that all are equal in the gospel, they did divide the labor: Paul and those with him would go to the gentiles, while Peter, James and John would continue their mission to the Jewish people. This is important to keep in mind in the Church’s mission of making disciples. Too often, we tend to segment the labor in a less constructive way. The group did not say that Peter, James and John would do the evangelism and Paul needed to stop. All of them agreed to continue the work of making disciples; they just understood that they had their own spheres of influence. We cannot rely upon the minister/vicar of our church to do all the work. We can’t put it all on the traveling evangelist. Each of us has our own sphere of influence. Your friends are more likely to listen to what you say than what a stranger, such as a pastor they’ve never met, has to say. We all have a part to play.
What do you think? Join the conversation. Here are some reflection questions to help you get started: Have you avoided talking to someone in your sphere of influence because you think, or hope, someone else will do it? What is stopping you now? Paul mentions the centrality of the Church’s mission to the poor. What are you doing to engage with the poor? Do you think the Church does enough for and with the poor? How does understanding everyone as equal impact your understanding of the poor? What about those with whom you disagree ideologically?