Acts 18:24–19:5; 1 Corinthians 3:5–15; 1 Corinthians 3:18–23 (read online ⧉)
Continuing from yesterday, Peter and Paul were, and remain, worthy examples to follow. In particular, it is their faithful following of Jesus Christ and their wrestling with the faith for themselves and others.
Not too long into things, however, already following fell into camps. Peter and Paul were the “original” camps and later, that of Apollos. The separation of camps was certainly not the intent of Peter, Paul, or Apollos.
The primary concern of the Corinthians was Paul and Apollos. Paul did note that Peter (Cephas) was tied into this as well. One can imagine that the 3 camps were broken into apparently ideological categories: old/Apostolic guard (Peter), Jewish guard (Apollos), Gentile/revolutionary guard (Paul).
Was this really the case for these 3 men? Neither the Scriptures nor Church histories provide any evidence of it. This was something that likely started with relationships and attraction.
We see this today, as people will follow a particular pastor. If that pastor moves on, so do they. We also often seen this camp development as a precursor to church family splits.
People will settle into camps over many issues: political party, environment, race, taxation, “freedoms”, immigration, world events, and so on. People will often find and focus on more that divides, rather than unites.
In this environment of being divided and then further subdivided, and then divided again, followers of Jesus should buck the trend and figure out how to unite. Currently, we are on the same path as the rest of the world in that regard and that does not.
We also know from the Scriptures and Church history that the early leaders did not all agree on everything at all times. Yet, their paramount allegiance was to Jesus Christ.
One could dismiss their agreement on the reality that they were oppressed or at least strongly opposed. If that’s the case, perhaps instead of greater freedom, we should pray for further difficulty (dark humor).
It wasn’t easy to stay unified. It also isn’t as if they were unified on everything. They were being unified over Jesus, which is all we can really ask of one another. That isn’t happening today.
As we always look for and at those who are one step ahead of us, we must still keep our eyes upon Jesus. The person we follow may turn away, and if we blindly follow, we too will walk away from Jesus. Keeping our eyes upon Jesus will help keep us going toward him, and not away.
Jesus, while we look at others to help us in our Christian walk, help us to keep our eyes on you. Amen.
1) Which people are you watching or following right now? How do they lead you to Jesus?
2) Is Jesus (not “being Christian”) your lens when looking at and listening to others?
3) How do you converse generously in love, grace, and mercy with others whose understanding of following Jesus is different than yours?