Daily Devotional: Tuesday 2nd Juneby William Moody
Paul Visits James
17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled,1 and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them.
Some manuscripts omit and from what has been strangled
Paul shares with the leaders of the Jerusalem church how God has blessed his ministry among the Gentiles (v19) and they in turn share what God has been doing among the Jews (20). There was a genuine interest in what God was doing through other people and these men of God were not just caught up in their own field of service. We need to be careful not to see the work we are engaged in as the only thing that matters but be concerned about what God is doing everywhere.
Due to Paul’s ministry among the gentiles there was a real danger of Paul being misunderstood (v21) and they agree a course of action that will prevent misunderstanding and insure the work of the Gospel is not harmed among the Jews (22-24) or mong the Gentiles (v25).
God’s people should not compromise on the truth but there are times when we need to be flexible about our preferences in order that the Gospel is not harmed. Inflexibility when it is needed can be a very harmful thing to Gospel work. How flexible are you willing to be for the Gospel? How willing are you to set aside your preferences for the sake of the Gospel?
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.