As an Olympian, he focused on rank. He compared himself with others using conformity to a moral code as the standard of measurement. Since his conformity to the code was greater and more intense than that of others, he ranked himself higher than others and looked down upon them with contempt.
As an Olympian, he believed in Jupiter and in using power to enforce conformity. If Jews of the new Jesus movement wanted to challenge Pharisaic Judaism, he would be happy to attack them.
Then in AD 32, while Saul was on his way to attack these unconventional Jews in
With that freedom, Saul entered a period of transition of uncertain length. He’d lost his old way of living but had no new way to replace it. Jesus was the center of this new way but Saul did not yet know what that meant in all its profound depths and daily details.
Saul had planned to return to
Only in 35 did Saul return to
In 43, leaders of the church (assembly of Christian Jews) in
In 44, Herod Agrippa 1st, ruling as king in
Since AD 30, the church in
Now, with James son of Zebedee murdered and Peter arrested, primary leadership passed not to John son of Zebedee but to James the brother of Jesus. Strange. While Jesus was preaching, James had tried to restrain him because he thought his older brother was becoming mentally ill. When told his brothers wanted to see him, Jesus had replied that his true brothers weren’t relatives but those who did God’s will. What was James’ qualification for leadership now? He was the brother of Jesus. Already, then, even the church in
In 46 the church in
Then another unexpected event occurred. Until this point, Barnabas had been a leader of the Jesus movement in
When Paul and Barnabas finished speaking on
There too they continued to encounter persecution from more established and powerful religious authorities. These leaders sincerely believed they had a clearer understand of God’s will. They certainly had a greater commitment to the status quo. At one point Paul’s opponents even managed to get him stoned and left for dead.
There too Paul and Barnabas continued to speak to non-Jewish sympathizers about Jesus. Paul organized non-Jewish sympathizers joining the Jesus movement into congregations. Most importantly, he didn’t first require them to conform to a Jewish moral code of conduct.
It was this last practice that got Paul into trouble with James the brother of Jesus in
In contrast, even the church in
In 48 Peter traveled from
Paul exploded. At the very next meeting and meal, he publicly confronted Peter. Now the representatives of James knew that Peter had been eating with non-Jews in violation of the Jewish moral code. Now everyone in
In 49 Paul wanted Barnabas to return with him to the churches they’d previously started. But Barnabas still saw conformity to a Jewish moral code as an essential part of the Jesus movement. He chose to go to
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