Monday, July 03, 2017

Paul Novel 4:3: Private Meeting Jerusalem

continued from last time
Barnabas arranged for a time to meet with the "pillars" of the Jerusalem church. Since they believed the temple had been defiled by corrupt leadership, the earliest church had come to think of four Jerusalem leaders as the four pillars in the new temple. Until such time as the physical temple was cleansed, they represented the true dwelling of God in the land.

Peter was the first pillar, the first of the disciples to whom Jesus appeared. James the brother of Jesus was the second, the leader of the Jerusalem church. Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee were the third and fourth pillar. Of course James of Zebedee had been killed by Herod Agrippa I by this time, leaving only three of the pillars.

At first Barnabas suggested they eat a meal with Paul, Titus, and him. Peter was happy to do it but James clearly wasn't excited about the idea. Barnabas didn't ask why because he knew it was the idea of eating with a Gentile--and maybe even Paul himself. Barnabas wouldn't tell Paul about that part of the conversation.

So at the appropriate time, Barnabas and Paul met with them, with Titus nearby. Paul knew well enough to let Barnabas do most of the talking. Barnabas first told of their visit to Cyprus and how surprised they were for the Roman governor himself to believe.

"He will find it difficult to follow the Way in such a position of wealth and power," James said. "As my brother said while he was with us, 'It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.'"

"Perhaps so," Paul finally said. "But our God can do all things through Christ who strengthens us."

"I hope the Gentiles can be saved, Barnabas," John chimed in. "But it is still very important for you and Paul to keep the Law, since you are Israelites."

"We are diligent to do so," Barnabas said. Paul kept silent. He basically still kept the Law. But if it ever seemed like the Law might stand in the way of the mission, the mission pretty much came first...

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