Tuesday, June 05, 2007

3 A Second Journey

It was not long after we returned to Antioch that Barnabas came to me. He believed we should revisit the churches we had founded on our first journey. We would strengthen their faith and share the "good news" of the Jerusalem letter.

I agreed, although I was far more interested in the churches of Galatia than those on the island of Cyprus. Most of the believers on Cyprus were Jewish believers. And I wanted to go further west to preach the gospel in places it had not yet reached.

At the same time, Barnabas and I still disagreed about James' decision. "What is it that the Lord said to the Pharisees," I reminded him. "'It is not what goes into a person that makes you unclean.' Doesn't this mean that Jesus declared all foods clean?"

Barnabas was open to being convinced, but he insisted we must obey the authority of the apostles.

"Am I not an apostle too," I pleaded with him. "Are you not also an apostle? Didn't the Lord himself appear to you in Jerusalem, sending you to proclaim the good news?"

"But the Twelve have a special authority beyond ours," Barnabas believed. "You have forgotten your place, brother Saul. You never knew our Lord Jesus in the flesh as the others. And it was not long ago that you were 'exiled' in Cilicia. You have really spent very little time with the community of faith. You've spent most of your time as a believer isolated and alone."

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