BRP Insight Post for Monday, June 10, 2019
Acts 15 is an encouraging chapter for me. I’m grateful that God chose to have the sometimes uncomfortable and less than flattering truth placed into the scriptures instead of a whitewashed version that made everyone look good. I take comfort in the fact that even in the midst of the incredible growth and truly miraculous events that were occurring in the early church, there were still disagreements, questions and challenges. That may seem like an odd thing to be comforted by, but it tells me that if it happened then, I shouldn’t be surprised when it happens now.
Sometimes there’s room for holding to the “non-negotiables” of our faith while making space for the things that are up for discussion. In the case of the early church, the Mosaic law was still very much a part of the Jewish faith and tradition, but Jesus was the fulfillment of that law and with His death and resurrection, He opened the door for all to enter in, whether they were Jews or not. James’ masterful decision allowed for the non-Jews to enter into the family through the grace and blood of Jesus, but still asked the new converts to avoid some things that would be offensive to the Jews they lived among (food offered to idols, sexual impurity and consuming blood – things often associated with pagan worship practices). I think this was probably especially important for those Jews that had not made a decision to follow Christ, thereby eliminating a potential stumbling block. Ultimately, these restrictions were also to benefit the new believers too.
Later in the chapter we read of a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas that ended in them parting ways. Barnabas wanted to take Mark along with them on the next leg of the missionary journey, but Paul was opposed to it because Mark had bailed on them during a previous trip. In this instance, there wasn’t a right or wrong, just a sharp difference of opinion. Paul was naturally concerned that Mark would leave them again; Barnabas felt Mark should be given a second chance. God ultimately took a bad situation and brought good out of it as the men now formed two teams of missionaries with the ability to cover more territory than would have been possible if Paul and Barnabas had stayed together.
I’m so grateful for the Bible and how God can speak to us through it. I’m grateful for His ability to bring good from bad in the world and in my own life if I yield myself daily to Him.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach