Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also…When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. Galatians 2:1,11-13
I was very blessed in Maryland for most of the time I was there. I may not have liked my job, but I had a good group of friends who helped me like the rest of my time there. Was there drama? For sure. Were there times when we didn’t get along? Absolutely! Would I trade that time in for anything else? No, not at all. My Bible study friends were as close to members of my family as some of my actual family. Christine slept in a chair overnight in my hospital room because I was rushed to the emergency room and my mom was on her way, Lois and Kerensa took me on “field trips” to Target and Safeway when I was regaining my strength and could barely walk, Nick and I drove to New Orleans together, Bridget and Ana went to Germany with me for the first time. I could go on for hours talking about how amazing my friends are, but that’s not the point. The point is that my friends went further with me than just on the surface. Nick and I would call each other in the morning to make sure we both were up in time to do quiet times. Kerensa encouraged me to take on a leadership position in our Bible study. Ana, Bridget and I had many talks about how our spiritual lives were going. That is why my friends are amazing.
Paul had these same friends. After 14 years of ministry Paul was going back to Jerusalem to meet with the Apostles. He took Barnabas and Titus too. He didn’t need back-up or anything, but he took his friends with him. The next part of the chapter that stood out to me, verses 11-13, showed what else friends need to do. When we are wrong, or our friends are wrong, we need to be told. We need to be confronted. Paul may not have done this the best way that he could have, but he did it this way nonetheless. He confronted Peter (Cephas) because Peter was being hypocritical and theologically wrong in his actions. Why did he need to do this? We see in verse 13 that others were joining in on the hypocrisy, that’s why. Our actions influence others, so if we are wrong, our friends need to be there to say so and we need to accept their constructive criticism.