When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch.
Thoughts for Today:One day when my daughter Natalie was young, we were riding in the car together as she was staring out the window in deep contemplative thought. I asked her what was on her mind, and she told me, "Dad, did you know there are only two kinds of people in the world? There are people who like flavors and people who like chocolate." Beyond the obvious taste bud differences, she proceeded to describe and compare in great detail (all from the perspective of an eleven year old) the personality traits of people who like flavors versus people who prefer chocolate. It was one of my favorite and most memorable discussions.
In our passage today, Paul landed at Caesarea and went up to greet the mother church in Jerusalem, but then soon after left for Antioch. I think from the writing in Acts, as well as other parts of the New Testament, there must have been a certain amount of what I consider to be healthy conflict and differences of opinion on various points and perspectives of the new Christian faith that made staying too long in Jerusalem uncomfortable for Paul. On one hand you have James and Peter expressing their ideas that faith without works is dead, and we must always be sober and vigilant. Then there is Paul pointing out that we are perfected in Christ and the work has already been finished. Both are right, neither is wrong, and as my daughter Natalie pointed out so many years ago, some are flavor people and others just prefer chocolate. These differences are pretty easy to accept as long as we don't expect or force everyone to like what we like or see things the same way we see them.
Questions to Ponder:If we are not careful, it is easy to get so locked into one idea about our faith that we don't just exclude other approaches, but actually begin to think everyone else is wrong. Do you see yourself in that statement? Has someone brought to your attention another point of view that appears in conflict to your beliefs? Could it be that you are both right? Some of us like more structure and absolutes (the chocolate people -- faith without works is dead); others prefer more options and less regiment (flavor people -- the work has already been done). Which are you? Can you see how others can be right as well? It's simply a matter of taste.