Monday, June 19, 2017

Paul 4.1 Back in Antioch

Prior novel chapters may disappear after transferred into a Word document. While it lasts, here is the link to the last post in chapter 3.
Chapter 4: Jerusalem Decisions
The whole way back to Antioch, Paul was thinking about what might lie ahead. John Mark had been back in Jerusalem for over a year. Who knows what all he had said to the leaders in Jerusalem? They would of course tend to believe his account because he was one of them.

Paul could hear what he might be whispering into their ears. "Paul hijacked the mission from Barnabas." "Paul has no regard for the Jewish Law." "Paul has abandoned his own people in preference to non-Jews."

Barnabas assured Paul that everything would be fine. Mark was just young and immature. And, with a bit of a smile, "You can be a little overbearing at times, Paul."

Finally, Barnabas had a plan that made sense to Paul. "Let's go down to Jerusalem after we get back," he said. "Let's take one of the Gentile converts from Antioch to show them an actual person. It's hard to argue with a real person in front of you," Barnabas continued. "They'll see that the gospel is for the whole world, Paul. How could they keep such good news all to themselves?"

Paul agreed. It made sense. It would sure be better for the kingdom--and for the churches he had planted--if James and Peter agreed that Gentiles could be saved from the coming judgment without becoming circumcised.

The house churches of Antioch were clearly glad to see them, and they hung on every story Paul and Barnabas told. They were amazed that a Roman governor had believed, although they already knew that part of the story from John Mark. At first they cringed to hear of Paul getting stoned, but then laughed when Barnabas told how Paul "just got up and went into town" while they were looking at his body thinking he was dead.

Paul could tell, though, that there had been some rumblings about his familiarity with non-Jews. Had he started eating pork? "No!" he assured them. Had he succumbed to sexual immorality like the Gentiles? "May it never be!" he protested in anger. "And none of those who have believed do such things either!"

It infuriated him that they would assume a person was sexually immoral, just because he or she was a Gentile!

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