Acts 15.12-21

Can you imagine being present at the council of Acts 15? The debate and discussion (v.6), the testimony of and personal encounters with Jesus (v.7), the humility and the realisation that something paradigm-shifting was happening (v.11) must all have left those present with a sense of awe and wonder. 

As if that was not enough, then Barnabas and Paul…explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. We know that signs and wonders always point to something more than themselves and Barnabas and Paul took the time to explain them. Can you imagine sitting there and hearing how God had worked miraculous signs and wonders to show the Gentiles that Jesus is their only answer, their only hope, their only chance of getting right with God?

Then, in his role as leader of the church in Jerusalem (cf. 21.18 and here), James stands to pronounce his opinion and the direction the church should take. He cites Scripture (vv.16-17, Amos 9.11-12, specifically from the version the Gentiles would have used) to show that this was always part of the plan and that Gentile believers should not have extra difficulty put upon them when turning to God in faith by grace for salvation (vv.19-21).

Aren’t we glad that after much discussion and debate that this was the conclusion? Aren’t we glad that as Gentile (non-Jewish origin) believers we have nothing to do to inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life other than lean wholeheartedly on Jesus as the offering for sin demanded from us (cf. Leviticus 42 Corinthians 5.21). Had this council concluded differently our lives would need to be lived very differently. There would be rituals, religious obligations, sacrifices, surgeries, and enforced Sabbaths. Praise God for the council of Acts 15!

Published by James Travis

Pastor of Saar Fellowship in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Married to Robyn and Dad to our two boys.

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