We continue these easter days by following in the footsteps of the apostles as the early church finds itself.
The Jewish converts and the gentile converts are at odds as far as answering the question, "how is one saved."
The Jewish contingent is clinging to the old prescripts of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants, where circumcision is necessary as entrance into the family, household of God.
Circumcision was a badge of Jewish Identity as connection to the roots of Israel as the chosen people of God, a reality that found its culmination in Jesus, the Messiah.
So what was one to do? More importantly who was going to decide what to do? Who is the spokesman for the church? How would discernment take place?
"The Apostles and Presbyters met together to see about the matter."
All hope is not lost. Jesus foresaw such a need for direction and guidance. He had already determined where direction and guidance would come. The Apostles and presbyters were to be the voice of reason. Jesus himself said in the gospel, "He who listens to you, listens to me."
Who rises to front but Peter himself, the one who Jesus in Mt 16:18 gives the keys to the kingdom and the authority to bind/loose on earth and in heaven, "Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father, and i say to you you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church…"
Peter takes his position as appointed by Christ as the first amongst Equals, the servant of the servant of Christ and begins to guide the church to a decision,"Peter got up and said to the Apostles and Presbyters, 'my brothers, you are well aware that from early days God mad this choice that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of Gospel and believe…On the contrary we believed we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus…"
It is not by the flint blade but by the free gift of Jesus Christ.
Salvation is a gift offered and received.
Thus the church begins to move forward on the seas of time, its anchor firmly dropped upon the gift of Salvation in Christ.