A Devotion Based on Galatians 2.1-21

Peter had refused to eat with the non-Jewish members of the church in Antioch just because some Jewish Christian students from Jerusalem had come to check up on him. The Jews considered non-Jewish people to be unclean. It was forbidden for a faithful Jewish person, whether they followed Jesus or not, to share a table with non-Jews. Peter knew that these Jerusalem Christians would look down on him had they caught him breaking bread with these uncircumcised pagans. And so to save face, he distanced himself from the non-Jewish (Gentile) members of the church – even though Peter had seen firsthand what mighty works God was doing among them.

So Paul called Peter for what he was: a hypocrite. When you call yourself an apostle to the Gentiles, then you have the responsibility to minister, to love, to honor them the best way that you can. But if you abandon your fellowship with them just because some strangers apply some peer pressure on you, then you’re not really an apostle to the Gentiles. You just tell people that you are. You are just pretending. You are being a hypocrite.

People only respond to real love. Hypocritical love does not work and people can smell it a mile away. When you say that you love someone but you are embarrassed to be seen with them, or you’re not available to them, or you’re not listening to them, then they will know that you’re only pretending to love them; and they will reject you and whatever it is that you’re trying to sell them.

We don’t want people to reject Christ’s love just because we offer them some watered down version of that love. They deserve to experience the same love that Jesus has allowed us to experience: real sacrificial love. That love is powerful. That love is wanted, needed, in this world today. That’s the love that has drawn us to him in the first place. So let us stop pretending to love; let us stop being a hypocrite! Let us instead truly love the way Jesus loves.