"The right hand of fellowship..."
Text: Galatians 2:9b
AN IMPORTANT SYMBOLIC GESTURE
The pillars of the Church, James, Cephas and John made an important symbolic gesture towards Paul and Barnabas.
They gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship,
that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
This is a reference to the apostles James, Cephas and John.
2. “The right hand of fellowship”
The following things are meant:-
a) There was acceptance of the ministry of Paul and Barnabas.
b) There was no discord between the two groups of apostles represented.
i) Group of three apostles (James, Cephas and John)
ii) Group of two apostles (Paul and Barnabas)
c) There was equality.
d) In every sense of the word they were able to have full fellowship among equals.
e) There was sincere and whole-hearted appreciation of each other’s ministry.
3. Two distinct ministries noted
a) The ministry to the Gentiles
i) This ministry is now given a name.
ii) This was an official recognition of the validity of such a ministry.
iii) If there had been a question before about the validity of this ministry, that had been resolved here and now.
b) The ministry to the circumcised
i) This was an obvious reference to the Jews.
ii) However, not only Jews are in view here.
iii) There were Gentiles who had embraced Judaism and had been circumcised.
iv) These would be included under the word “circumcised”.
c) Wisdom displayed
i) Each group should focus on what the Lord had assigned them to do.
ii) There would be better results if each maintained focus on building what was his strength.