22 Then the apostles, the elders and the whole church decided what to do. They would choose some of their own men who were leaders among the believers. They would send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. So they chose Judas Barsabbas and Silas. They were leaders among the believers. 23 Here is the letter they sent with them. The apostles and elders, your brothers, are writing this letter. We are sending it to the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. Greetings. 24 We have heard that some of our people came to you and caused trouble. You were upset by what they said. But we had given them no authority to go. 25 So we all agreed to send our dear friends Barnabas and Paul to you. We chose some other men to go with them. 26 Barnabas and Paul have put their lives in danger. They did it for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 So we are sending Judas and Silas with them. What they say will agree with this letter. 28 Here is what seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us. We will not give you a load that is too heavy. So here are a few basic rules. 29 Don’t eat food that has been offered to statues of gods. Don’t drink blood. Don’t eat the meat of animals that have been choked to death. And don’t commit sexual sins. You will do well to keep away from these things. Farewell.
In this passage, the Jerusalem council recognised the issues that faced the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. This was regarding salvation and Jewish practices. The council took action by sending the letter with official representatives, to acknowledge the diverse cultural differences between them. However, the key agenda of this letter was to bring the Holy Spirit into the picture.
This demonstrates the unity that the Holy Spirit brings amongst humanity. Believers naturally have different views on things in life – the election has been an example of this – but this verse reminds us to be unified by the Holy Spirit as we walk by faith. The council brought the unifying presence of the Holy Spirit into the discussion, which was crucial.
God, I thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit. Please fill me afresh today and help me to walk in Your leading.
Written by Laura Samperi