The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”
And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name.
Comment: Probably someone among the group made of list of all the things impinging on gentile believers and the keeping of the Law.
- Why was the Law given in the first place? Possibly to provide a constitution and a good set of formalised laws. The sacrifices were possibly there to show how serious sin is and to provide a costly example of God’s intention to provide the perfect sacrifice in Jesus.
- Was the Law effective in achieving salvation over the many years since it was given? Peter’s statement ‘Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?’ seems very relevant to this.
- God had acted mightily first of all in Peter and the Centurion. Then Paul’s evangelizing troupe had shown the effective outreach of the Good News unbridled with Jewish practice and Law.
Prayer: Help me to learn the FAITH by understanding and not just rote, O Lord.