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Last week I opened up the topic of hearing God’s Voice and I gave you the list of ways in which God had spoken to our Jakarta based Cell Group over th...

Are you Filtering God Out? (Hearing God’s Voice 2)

May 15, 2020

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Bible Gemz 1525 - Controversy: Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles and Peter the Apostle to the Jews? Shouldn't it be Reversed?

February 10, 2019


And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is indeed the Son of God!" 

All who heard him were amazed. "Isn't this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus' followers in Jerusalem?" they asked. "And didn't he come here to arrest them and take them in chains to the leading priests?" 

Saul's preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn't refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. (Acts 9:20-22)



How did he prove that Jesus was the Son of God when he had only met Him in a vision?

What proofs did Saul use and where did he get them when he hadn’t been with Jesus?

What is the difference between proofs that Jesus Is the Son of God and that Jesus is the Messiah?


How could the people who heard Saul suddenly accept that he was on their side? Why did they accept him so soon?


I am going to combine all of these questions together because they are linked to similar ideas. There are some good questions here. Two questions are foundational:

How did Saul immediately start preaching about Jesus? 

Wasn’t Peter the one better equipped to prove Jesus was Son of God?


With the first question I am going to start with what I think you meant or want to know with that question Ellen. But if you had another direction in mind then please tell me. I am assuming your thoughts lie in the direction of Paul being so opposed to the idea of Jesus being the Messiah. So how can He suddenly switch to the other side and start preaching about Jesus on the same level as Peter’s understanding? That is an interesting question. It matches well with another person’s question containing the inference that Peter would be the best choice to carry the message to the Gentiles rather than Saul. Well at the first instance remember that God chose Peter to be the apostle to the Jews and Paul to be the apostle to the Gentile. Those two audiences require a different approach and were also each a specific and focused assignment. For which God chose two different men. On thinking about these two questions a further question occurred to me, why was Paul not the apostle to the Jews and Peter not the Apostle to the Gentiles? Paul was the one who had been a trainee rabbi and so one would think he would be more suited to being the apostle to the Jews. Besides which Peter had no credentials to talk with Rabbis. He had not been trained under any of the recognised teachers of Judaism at that time. He was a fisherman and assumedly had not progressed beyond Beth Sepher, the first level of Rabbi training. Assumedly he did not get to the stage of following closely “the yoke” or teaching of one particular rabbi. He appears to have quit Torah studies after his barmizpah and gone fishing. 


I remember years ago a man asking me about Paul’s conversion claiming that he thought Paul was deceived as he had far too many controversial elements to his doctrine. He claimed that Peter was actually the Apostle to the Gentiles after reading Acts 15:6-11: 


So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 

At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: "Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 

God knows people's hearts, and He confirmed that He accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us. 

He made no distinction between us and them, for He cleansed their hearts through faith. 

So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 

We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus." 


The man then referred to Paul’s claim in Galatians that he was an apostle to the Gentiles:


Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as He had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. 

For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles. (Gal 2:7-8)


Yet I dare not boast about anything except what Christ has done through me, bringing the Gentiles to God by my message and by the way I worked among them. 

They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God's Spirit. In this way, I have fully presented the Good News of Christ from Jerusalem all the way to Illyricum. 

My ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else. (Rom 15:18-20)


He claimed Peter was the first one to take the gospel to the Gentiles which sparked the controversy of Acts 10 which had to be dealt with at the Jerusalem Council? So surely Peter was the Apostle to the Gentiles. Wasn’t it best that Paul stuck with taking the gospel to the Jews? Beside he argued, Peter’s vision was so much stronger than Paul’s related to going to the Gentiles. In Peter’s vision the sheet containing unclean things came down three times. The vision specifically related to going to the Gentiles. Three is the sacred number of God and the Trinity he claimed. Whereas Paul simply saw a bright light with no reference to Gentiles and he added, Satan masquerades himself in light. So wasn’t Paul deceived? Paul should have stuck to the Jews and Peter should have gone to the Gentiles. Underlyingly this man was asking whether Paul could be accepted on any level not just as the Apostle to the Gentiles. He was challenging Paul’s teaching as a whole. 


Now I will introduce the other related questions:



How did Saul prove that Jesus was the Son of God when he had only met Him in a vision?

What proofs did Saul use and where did he get them when he hadn’t been with Jesus?


How could the people who heard Saul suddenly accept that he was on their side? Why did they accept him so soon?


Let’s add those questions to the controversy above and ponder it as one package. 


In the meantime I will open up the question: What is the difference between proofs that Jesus Is the Son of God and that Jesus is the Messiah?

The simple answer is: None really because Son of God is a reference to the Messiah. One of the usages of Son of God is as a Messianic term, a reference to One who would come in the form of Deity. So simply put Son of God is a term for the Messiah. But it is also more complicated than that. How much of an answer do you want? Especially if we contrast Son of God with Son of Man. I have just looked up those references In one of the resources I have available and the coverage extends from page 335 to 477. Perhaps when all is said and done I will share with you the answer I got years ago from Major Ian Thomas which has become the foundation of my understanding of it all. But I won’t give you that input just yet. I will let the above controversy percolate for a while. 



I don't see how you can write anything of value if you don't offend someone. Marvin Harris


Learn to embrace controversy. Ultimately it will lead you deeper into truth. Ian   


Innovators are inevitably controversial.


Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.


Life is measured not by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away. 







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