“James, Peter and John, who seemed to be the leaders, recognized that God had given me this special task; so they shook hands with Barnabas and me as a sign that we were all partners”.
Gal 2:9 GNB
It is all too easy, where you have strong personalities, for each person to assume that he or she is right and any divergence from their opinions is a bad thing. Assumptions of superiority are also common and a source of considerable friction in any group. Most people want to be “top dog”.
There were variations in age, education and temperament amongst Peter, James, John, Paul and Barnabas. And Jesus had appointed Peter to be the leader of the apostolic group. But they were dealing with the first major issue the infant church had to face. If they had got it wrong the Christian cause might have foundered there and then. They didn’t. Instead of struggling for power they acknowledged that the gospel was the whole of the commission Christ had given them. Nothing must be allowed to thwart it, least of all themselves. They acknowledged that they were not competitors or rivals, jockeying to get more than their fair share of public admiration. They were partners in the gospel. Neither the Jewish mission nor the Gentile outreach was more important than the other. They would accept each other with respect and love in the Gospel,
Christians today need to have the same respect and acceptance for other people who are promoting the cause of Christ in the world. They should not criticize others’ attempts to get the message across. Still less should they allow relationships with Christians of other church allegiance to deteriorate into a point-scoring match. They should cheer each other on.
Lord, help us all to accept each other in love and support.