Once upon a time, way back in the day, the apostle Paul confronted the apostle Peter with a serious accusation. — [Now, for what it’s worth, this whole thing here got cut from Sunday’s sermon. It was getting too long, and this part didn’t really serve the main point, so . . . ] —
Paul tells us the story of the confrontation in Galatians 2. Paul and Peter were both in the city of Antioch, and Paul observed a gospel inconsistency in Peter’s life. He observed that Peter’s conduct — the way he lived — was “out of step with the truth of the gospel,” and so Paul says that he “opposed him to his face.” Paul confronted Peter. Paul got in Peter’s face and pointed out to him that he was acting in a way that was at odds with the message he proclaimed.
And it got resolved.
We don’t know the full details, but we do know that it got worked out, and I imagine that by the end of the process the two men hugged each other, and they walked away grateful. Again, we don’t know the details, but we can read here how Peter refers to Paul in chapter 3, verse 15. Peter says,
And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him…
So Peter calls Paul his brother — he says “Our beloved brother Paul.” This man who once confronted him, who was frustrated with him, who got in his face — Peter says that he’s a brother whom he loves.
As I mentioned before, this really doesn’t have much to do with the main point of the sermon, but what has happened between Peter and Paul is too amazing that I don’t want us to miss it. Peter calls Paul a beloved brother and that is so not Minnesotan. It’s not American. In fact, it’s not normal in any culture. That’s because it’s distinctively Christian, and it’s just one little example of the hope we have in the gospel — and that’s what the sermon is about.
See you Sunday.