22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter: The apostles and elders, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. 24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid 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 – 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 Ps. Laura Samperi