Parting of the Ways
Gracious Lord, I do get into disagreements with other Christians. Continue to teach me how to handle them.
Read Acts 15:36-16:5
 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.”  Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them,  but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work.  They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus,  but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.  He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.  Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.  The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.  Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.  As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.  So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDid Paul act correctly with Timothy? Why or why not?
Paul and Barnabas agree on the next stage of their mission and how to communicate the decision of the Jerusalem church leaders, but they do not agree on who should do it (37,38). Paul, maybe impressed by Silas’ preaching (32), thinks Silas would strengthen their team. Barnabas, concerned for the individual, wants to give his cousin John Mark (Col. 4:10) a second chance. Luke suggests that the cause of the gospel was actually enhanced by one team being split into two (15:41; 16:5). Clearly both new teams are commended to the grace of the Lord (40). Symbolically, Silas, representing the mainly Jewish Jerusalem church (22), and Paul, from the congregation in Antioch with its strong Gentile presence, pay a return visit to churches in south Galatia. Timothy joins the team. Insisting on his circumcision and delivering the Jerusalem decision, Paul still retains the possibility of reaching both Jews and Gentiles. Maybe Barnabas and Paul in their public disagreement are poor role models for Christians in Antioch, but maybe they are good examples of how to agree to differ. As a result, God did far more than might have been humanly possible otherwise.
How do you respond to this story? What help does it offer you in dealing with disagreements with other Christians?
Lord, when I disagree with another believer, may I always be gracious and seek to honor You first of all.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.