Galatians 2:11 But when Cephas (also known as Peter) came to Antioch, I (the apostle Paul) opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12 for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. 13 And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14 But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Wow. This is quite the story. Cephas is also known as the apostle Peter from the gospels. He was perhaps the overall leader of the twelve original apostles, along with the James and John.
The apostle Paul, who was not one of the original twelve, had visited Peter and the other apostles in Jerusalem to receive their blessing for his ministry among Gentiles (non-Jews). It was a show of respect for Peter and the first apostles in Jerusalem. Having been blessed and affirmed, Paul and Barnabas returned to their work outside Israel.
However, when Peter later visited Paul in Antioch and began to act inappropriately (separating himself from the Gentiles) Paul called him on it. Publicly. Today we might refer to Paul’s actions as “ballsy”. Two questions arise for me today:
1. Would I have the nerve to take Peter to task in this way?
2. Do I have people around me who will call me out when I get off track?