Day 22 - Concord Student Journey


Read Acts 15:1-21
Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up. “Brothers,” he said, “listen to me. 14 Simon[a] has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:16 “‘After this I will return
    and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild,
    and I will restore it,17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
    even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things’[b]18     things known from long ago.[c]
19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

Acts 15:1-21 recounts a significant event in the early Christian Church's history. The passage depicts a dispute between Jewish and Gentile Christians over the issue of circumcision. Some Jewish Christians believed that Gentiles must be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses to be saved, while others disagreed. This disagreement threatened to divide the Church, but the Apostles and elders came together to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and find a resolution.
The first lesson we can draw from this passage is the importance of seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit. The Apostles and elders did not rely on their own understanding to resolve the dispute but sought the Holy Spirit's wisdom. They recognized that only God could provide the answers they needed and were willing to wait patiently until they received guidance.
Another lesson we can learn from this passage is the importance of unity in the Church. The disagreement over circumcision could have led to a permanent split between Jewish and Gentile Christians, but the Apostles and elders were committed to finding a solution that would allow both groups to continue to worship together. Their decision to exempt Gentile Christians from circumcision and the Law of Moses demonstrated a willingness to compromise for the sake of unity.
The application of these lessons can be seen in our own lives and the Church today. We must seek the Holy Spirit's guidance when faced with difficult decisions and trust that God will provide the answers we need. We must also strive for unity in the Church, even when we disagree on certain issues. We must be willing to compromise and work together to ensure that the Gospel is proclaimed and that the Church is a place of welcome for all people.
Reflection questions:
  1. How can we apply the lessons of seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit and promoting unity in the Church in our own lives?
  1. Are there any areas in our own Church where we need to work towards greater unity and understanding? How can we take steps towards this goal?


Popular posts from this blog

The NYC Trading Post