Fellowship (Gal. 2:9)

“When James,

Cephas,

And John,

Who were the acknowledged pillars,

Recognized the grace

That had been given

To me

And Barnabas,

They gave

To Barnabas

And me

The right hand of fellowship.

They agreed

That we should go

To the gentiles.

They would go

To the circumcised.”

καὶ γνόντες τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν μοι, Ἰάκωβος καὶ Κηφᾶς καὶ Ἰωάνης, οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι, δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν ἐμοὶ καὶ Βαρνάβα κοινωνίας, ἵνα ἡμεῖς εἰς τὰ ἔθνη, αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομήν·

Paul said, “When James (Ἰάκωβος), Cephas (καὶ Κηφᾶς), and John (καὶ Ἰωάνης), who were the acknowledged pillars (οἱ δοκοῦντες στῦλοι εἶναι), recognized the grace that had been given (καὶ γνόντες τὴν χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσάν) to me (ἐμοὶ) and Barnabas (καὶ Βαρνάβα), they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand (δεξιὰς ἔδωκαν) of fellowship (κοινωνίας).  They agreed that we should go to the gentiles (ἵνα ἡμεῖς εἰς τὰ ἔθνη).  They would go to the circumcised (αὐτοὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν περιτομήν).”  Paul and Barnabas seemed to have reached an agreement with James, Cephas, and John, the pillars of the Jerusalem Christian community.  James was the relative or brother of Jesus and the Jewish Christian leader in Jerusalem.  Peter or Cephas was the leader of the twelve, while John was one of the sons of Zebedee, who may have been the author of the Gospel of John.  James was mentioned first, which was unusual since Peter was considered the leader of the twelve.  However, with James, the more Jewish of the Christian leaders, Paul might have wanted to put an end to any rumors that the Jewish Christians had not accepted him.  The shaking of the right hand of fellowship was a Jewish custom that is also common among many people.  They had reached an agreement, so that the ending of chapter 15 in Acts has the same result.  Have you ever reached an agreement after some deliberations?

Eats with sinners (Lk 15:2-15:2)

“Both the Pharisees

And the Scribes

Were grumbling.

They said.

‘This Jesus fellow

Welcomes sinners.

He eats with them.’”

 

καὶ διεγόγγυζον οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς λέγοντες ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς

 

Luke uniquely talked about Jesus and his coziness with sinners that upset the Pharisees and the Scribes.  Luke said that both the Pharisees (οἵ τε Φαρισαῖοι) and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) were grumbling (καὶ διεγόγγυζον), saying (λέγοντες), that this fellow, Jesus, welcomes sinners (ὅτι Οὗτος ἁμαρτωλοὺς προσδέχεται) and eats with them (καὶ συνεσθίει αὐτοῖς).  Eating with sinners and tax collectors was a form of fellowship.  Perhaps the Pharisees and Scribes were correct in indicating that Jesus was approving their lifestyle.  He was giving tacit acceptance to these sinners and their deeds, scandalizing the people of Israel.  Listening to sinners was one thing.  Eating with them was another thing.  Would you welcome and eat with a public sinner?