1:18Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; 19but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. 20In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! 21Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; 23they only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me.
2:1Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain. 3But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.4But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us — 5we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you. 6And from those who were supposed to be acknowledged leaders (what they actually were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) — those leaders contributed nothing to me.7On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised 8(for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles), 9and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.10They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.
There's a natural fascination with people of historic importance. Even for nonbelievers, Paul, the historic figure of early Christianity, is such a subject of fascination and interest. Who was he? Where did he go? Whom did he know? What challenges did he faced? What was his motivation for spreading Christianity? How did Christianity spread from the work of Paul? These are the kinds of questions historians and biblical scholars, as well as the general public, ask and seek answers to.
In this section of Galatians, we get some answers to such questions. People, places, timeline, resistance, and hints of controversies are all here in this text.
Instead of going into the details of historic curiosity, I want to focus our attention on the golden (or crimson) thread that runs through this passage with regard to what Paul himself felt was of utmost importance.
εὐαγγέλιον, euaggelion, the good news, the gospel.
Our word, 'gospel', comes from the Greek word meaning "good-news" (eu = good; aggelion = message/news).
The Gospel, the truth of The Gospel, entrusted with The Gospel.
This for Paul was more important than who the leaders of this Jesus movement were, more important than his own welfare or standing with others, more important than any other thing in all the world. This (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) meant all the world to Paul and he would die for this Gospel and gladly so.
For today, consider for yourself what the Good News of Jesus Christ means for you. Spend time today with the Presence of Christ in the midst of a regular Tuesday, enwrapped by the good news of the God who is for you and not against you, who sent His Son to die so that we might live in the embracing presence of the Triune God.
The Lord be with you.