The Encounter

Scott Hoezee

Read: Galatians 2:11-16

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him. (Gal. 2:11)

Paul, Peter, and the other apostles had met in Jerusalem and made sure they were all on the same page theologically. Gentiles could become Christians without needing first to become Jews. It was a landmark agreement.

And then . . . some time later Paul and Peter were both in Antioch. Peter was eating and fellowshipping with Gentile Christians until a particularly vehement group of people showed up who insisted that no one could be a Christian without becoming a Jew first. Rather than stand up to them, Peter waffled. He drew back. He let them treat the Gentile Christians as second class. Paul saw that and then Paul saw red.

He got right up in Peter’s face and publicly shamed him. “We are not saved by what we do,” Paul said as every vein in his neck popped out. “Nothing can save us but the work of Christ on the cross!” Paul here accuses Peter of hypocrisy, which is a stinging critique. The word “hypocrite” refers to masks actors used to wear on the stage. It’s a false front. But for all who want to be transparent to Jesus, a false front will never do.

Peter did this, and Paul called him on it. It is not pleasant to see the founding apostles of our faith arguing. But thanks be to God that God always provides people to stand up for the truth. We need that today as much as ever, too. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Keep us transparent to you, to your grace, and to your love, dear God.