It seems curious that this passage is almost word for word a repeat from the previous chapter.
At a time when paper and ink were very valuable and compared with today little was written every word must have been weighed before put down. The only conclusion can be that this story is of utmost importance. Like the main point of a sermon repeated so you cannot forget it.
One of the main discussions of the time was whether the gentiles had to be circumcised to become believers in Jesus Christ. This is clear from Galatians and Romans and here it is Peter who defends not circumcising gentiles. Peter clearly did not have undisputable authority. The Jewish believers can questions his actions. Peter does not respond with a theological argument like those of Paul from his letters but he explains his experience. I imagine that allowing the gentiles to remain uncircumcised when they became followers of Jesus meant that the church could grow. And grow it did: especially among the gentiles!
I wonder what obstacles we put in people’s way that makes it difficult for them to commit to Christ. I wonder which of our discussions can be decided both from experience and theology to make growth possible.
24 April 2016
This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.