In these beginning verses of chapter 2, Paul is continuing to defend his role as an apostle. He describes a meeting in Jerusalem years after the one with Peter, as mentioned in chapter one. Barnabas & Titus went with Paul to meet “those who were of reputation”. The meeting was private, but some false brothers (aka Judaic Christians aka the false brothers mentioned yesterday) were secretly brought in who sought to demand that Titus, a Gentile, be circumcised. Paul refused, seeing it as an effort to bring them back into the bondage of the Mosaic law. Paul saw and preached that this bondage was lifted through Christ.
Now, the result of the meeting was that “those who seemed to be something” added nothing to Paul. These false brothers were not adding to the glorification of God. Rather, they took away from His glory – preaching their own interpretation of the gospel. Was God’s divine gospel not complete? Did God not reveal every truth to Paul, a person whom God Himself came down to meet and perform a life-altering miracle through? On the other hand, “those of reputation” did recognize Paul as an apostle and in fact commissioned him to continue his preaching, especially to the poor. Let’s clarify something: those of reputation were James, Cephas, and John. Those who seemed to be something were the false brothers brought in secretly. James, Cephas, and John saw the grace that had been given to Paul. The members that seemed to be something refuted Paul, arguing to have his teachers (like Titus) circumcised.
When we take in advise do we listen to someone of a good, faithful reputation or do we listen to those that “seem to be something”? Our world is chalk full of “Somebody’s”. Magazines, Facebook ads, TV commercials – they all tell us how to be something. We can be this fit, we can be this pretty, we can be a great multitasker! There are many voices in our head tempting us to be something particular or act a certain way. Now, being healthy, feeling beautiful, getting things accomplished – none of these are bad things in and of themselves. But those that are giving us this advice are doing it under false pretenses, just like the false brothers. They seep in under the disguise of glorifying God’s creation (us) but once they’ve entered, they tear us down explaining to us how we aren’t good enough or that more must be done. They do not add anything to us. Sisters, let us listen to those of reputation and not those that seem to be something in this world. Let us listen to those that recognize God’s grace in us and push us to continue on God’s path & challenges us to love more.