I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.
Thoughts for Today:When Paul says, "I went in response to a revelation," it appears he is referring to Acts 11:27-30: "During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul."
From Acts 9, we know the Lord personally appeared and called Paul. We also know the Lord used Ananias to give Paul the first glimpse of his mission in ministry (Acts 9:15-16): "But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.'" I think it is particularly interesting the Lord used Ananias to first introduce Paul's ministry direction; and then He used Agabus to send him to Jerusalem -- this would ultimately confirm that he was on the right path (our passage today). From these two examples, it is safe to say that the visions and revelations of other people had a major influence on the direction of Paul's walk of faith.
There are several things we can learn from Paul's example and also apply in our lives. First, the Lord often uses other people to make His will known to us. Second, we need to compare any new directional, or other information with the truth of Scripture. Third, we should always seek the counsel, wisdom, and guidance of other faithful believers. And finally, we must respond. We are not to blindly follow the instructions of any one person but to seek additional confirmation. It's why Paul met privately with the esteemed leaders in Jerusalem. He wanted to be certain that he was on the right path. If he was, then the Holy Spirit would speak to each of them in confirmation -- they would have harmony, peace and be united in the one mind of Christ.
Questions to Ponder:It is important for all Christians, who have a passionate desire to share the Gospel and serve God in their own unique way, to pay careful attention to the example of Paul. Today, there are some people who totally ignore the admonition for unity among the body of believers. Often times they brag about their unwillingness to listen or compromise. Yet, this was not the example of Paul. What can you learn from Paul's example? Is there a lack of peace and harmony in your Church? What can you do to bridge the gap?