A good Jew works hard to follow the Law. This outward appearance of righteousness does not make you right with God, but it was a strong social pressure for Peter, Paul, and the other early Christians that grew up in the Jewish tradition. Peter (Cephas) caved to that pressure in this case, even though he understood he was only justified by faith in Christ. Eating kosher, or avoiding non-Jews didn’t get him anywhere. Paul, being Paul, called him out and tried to set things right.
1. Why do you think this was such an important issue for the early Church?
2. What do you think about events like this which show the struggles and failures of people in the early church? Is it encouraging? Discouraging?
Challenge: Consider your social circles. You may interact differently with certain groups, but are you living your beliefs consistently around everyone? See if you can identify an area where you’ve let yourself become trapped by social pressure, and let your freedom in Christ shine a little more.