14 years

Think back to 2002……that year the Angels defeated the Giants in the World series. The Houston Texans are announced as the 32nd franchise in the NFL. Gas was on average $1.61 per gallon. Where were you in 2002? Now fast forward to now. 2016. Compare the two people: the one that was gallivanting around in 2002 and the person you embody today.

What are the similarities? What is different for you? What is the same that you wish with everything in you that it wasn’t? 14 years…

That’s the length of time we see in Galatians 2 when Paul is back in Jerusalem. It’s a gathering of the folks who have said yes to following the way of Jesus. It’s a time to replenish one another through prayer, song, laughter. Just good ol’ hanging out with like-hearted folks. 14 years after his conversion where he reminds the letter readers in Galatia that he didn’t consult with anyone yet went away to Arabia then Damascus, then 3 years later he seeks out Peter.

Amazing. Let this sink in gang. His collision with Christ came 14 years earlier as he was journeying to Damascus (Acts 9) struck blind, for 3 days couldn’t see, didn’t eat. He wasn’t far removed from approving and being on the scene when Stephen was stoned to death for following the way, following the truth of the gospel. Now he is heading back to the city of Jerusalem, the place where he once wanted to drag people in chains because they were Jesus lovers. Now he is one!

He bangs on the door Peter opens the door and this epic relationship is synced through Christ. Man, imagine the energy from these guys to each other over the days. They spend 15 days together. WOW WOW, what about the conversations they had over the 15 days they were together? I’m just wondering what if must have been like to hear peter recall his denial of Christ in the courtyard. Was he embarrassed? Was he fighting off even sharing this? We aren’t sure as we aren’t given the blow by blow of the 15 days but don’t we fight that? yea you know we want people to have this image of us…ughhh ughhh such a battle. OR Or to hear Peter ask Paul, “What did you see when you entered a city that would tip you off on who the followers of the way were?” And to hear Paul reply, “The way you love man.”15 days for hearts to connect, 15 days to leave the way “things” were to forge ahead in unity in following the truth of the gospel. 15 days to set hearts on Christ. The trust and bond built in those days had to be incredible, because we see this interaction where Paul is not diggin’ how his roomie is moving about in his relationships.

What we see is how we interact at times with one other. Ever been to a group function and if you haven’t traveled there with someone you are blowing up the phone of those that are supposed to be there so you can connect quickly and promptly to avoid the awkward “I’m in this room by myself and know no one” …. or before the days of texting and calling and you would make it into the room and immediately canvas the room for any set of eyeballs that looked familiar, didn’t matter if they were with the “cool kids” or not. Ah there is someone…and the idle chit chat is on, while the radar is up for that someone or someones to traipse in and down away we go leaving the initial group shaking in our wake.

Paul sees Peter in his words in Galatians

Gal 2:14 NLT 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, 

What did he see? What did he hear. Ah man go read this gang its super cool. In a nutshell he is saying “peter you are reverting back to what we were before Christ” Christ changes people man! It’s Christ and Christ alone. Our acceptance is based on how you were stating with the Gentile followers. Nothing can be added to what Christ has already done. Yet now when the Jewish Christians come in you are agreeing with them in some of the add on’s….NO NO NO NO…even if peter stated that he didn’t say anything, silence is agreement folks…. if we sit in silence…. that is a form of agreeing. The scripture states that Peter was afraid, scared of their criticism. I can so relate. peter was afraid of the girl when he screamed NO NO NO…yet through Christ people change, through Christ people change. His buddy, his comrade, the man he spent 15 days with, Paul reminds him of this in the moment.

Follow the truth of the gospel. beLIeVE.

So what happened? Well I think you already know the answer to that one. I love that their connection through Christ allowed them to have this type of conversation with each other, versus running from each other. They allowed the grace of Christ to move them through the messy of the moment. They allowed who they are (in Christ and Christ in them) to determine what they do. They no longer will live as they were 14 years earlier…how ‘bout you?

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