Galatians 1:18-2:2 (ESV)
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me. Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain.
Paul, who was converted while on a trip to Damascus to imprison the faithful, thought it necessary because of a vision he had to check in with the other Apostles (those who had spent time with Jesus) to check what he had been teaching. He wanted to ensure that he was correct in his teaching. This is 17 years after his conversion. He had preached the message of Jesus prolifically for that time, but wanted to ensure he was not preaching falsehood.
How many of us would be willing to do that today? To have our beliefs and teachings about Jesus evaluated to ensure orthodoxy? How many of us would just say something like, “They don’t know what they are talking about!” when or if challenged?
Yet here is Paul, a man who had a vision of Jesus Himself, in fact was knocked off his horse and spent three days blind until healed by a follower of Jesus checking his theology with “those who seemed influential.”
He wanted to ensure he was going the right way. He did not want to be the man who would not ask for directions--just a metaphor because of the image above...
So as we go about our lives, let us not become weary in ensuring that we are speaking the truth. As we discussed yesterday, we need to rely on others that have demonstrated by their lives that they are faithful to the Gospel. We need mentors to disciple us, and we need to disciple those who are “younger” in the faith than we are. We are called to community. We are called to be the Body of Christ. We need to care for one another. We are NOT called to isolation. We are NOT called to remain isolated, or to just develop our own theology. We need to remain grounded in a body of believers to worship corporately and to grow together as a community.
by Virgil Stripes