After clearly establishing the fact that he had almost no face-time with the “Jerusalem Apostles” during the first fourteen years of his ministry, Paul continues to defend the legitimacy of his apostleship by telling the story of his visit to Jerusalem. The scene is incredibly dramatic. Paul and Barnabas stroll in … with Titus, a newly converted but uncircumcised Gentile. Then some Judaizers sneak in to spy things out and make sure their legalism is upheld. Peter, James, and John give Paul the floor, and you could hear a pin drop as he boldly unpacks the gospel he received from Jesus and preached among the Gentiles. Will Paul’s gospel be affirmed? Rejected? Amended? Will the church splinter into two factions, Jewish and Gentile? Will Paul’s apostleship be acknowledged? Happily, the Apostles recognize the grace that Paul was given. Adding nothing to his message, they instead shake his hand and say, “Keep preaching that, brother. We’re all saying the same thing: Jesus plus nothing is everything.”

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