GOSPEL MEDITATION # 47
The Jerusalem Council, part two-Acts 15:22-41
The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers &
Paul and Barnabas Separate
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
4 Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- The Jerusalem Church sends Barnabas and Paul back to their home church in Antioch. Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas go along as well.
- These will deliver the letter describing the decision James made in regard to receiving Gentiles into fellowship.
- The letter acknowledges that there were those from the Jerusalem church who had “troubled” them and their letter now seeks to address the issues about Gentile believers.
- James writes, “it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us,” which goes unexplained but which we would love to understand.
- Then James gives the four areas under consideration, but it is in a different order than what we find in 15:20. Again, there is no accounting for the difference. Commentators have varying opinions on this point, which is minor anyway.
- The church in Antioch, after hearing the letter read, rejoiced as a result. These had experienced true conversion, knew Jesus was Savior and Lord, and likely were concerned they would be required to obey the laws of Moses.
- After a time, Judas and Silas return to Jerusalem, while Paul and Barnabas remain in Antioch teaching and preaching the word (Logos) in Greek.
- A second missionary tour is considered but Paul declines to take Barnabas’s cousin Mark with them. This results in a (temporary) parting of the ways.