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To Jews And Gentiles

The apostles Peter and Paul were very similar in some ways. They were both Jews who were born in their country (Peter in northern Israel, Paul in southern Turkey) while it was under the brutal rule of Roman invaders. The occupation may have seemed "normal" to them; they were born after it had already begun, and it's all that they ever knew - unlike those of their countrymen who righteously fought to defend their homeland when the invasion first happened (no doubt, the invading Romans called the Jews who had the backbone to fiercely defend their country "terrorists" or "insurgents" for no greater "crime" than defending their country in exactly the same way that the Romans themselves would do, and already had done for themselves, if they were the ones being dictated to by foreign politicians i.e. in any particular war, "patriot" or "terrorist" are terms defined by which side one happens to have been born on).

Peter and Paul were however different in other ways. While both were personally chosen by Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:18-29, Acts 9:5-6), their backgrounds were very different. Peter was just a "regular guy," a fisherman. On the other hand, Paul was a Pharisee, a writer and teacher. Why would the Messiah have chosen them? Why not both fishermen? Or both Pharisees? Did they just happen to be what they were, or were they chosen, as they were, for the specific ministry that they were to be assigned?

"The gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter"

Peter was an average Jew of his time (as was Jesus of Nazareth). The primary reason for that was that Peter was chosen, by Christ, to be the apostle to his own people, specifically to fellow Jews, most of whom were "average" people, just like Peter. Peter's mission was established and documented in the first dozen or so chapters of the book of Acts - which culminated in Peter coming to understand that others would be sent to the "gentiles" (keep in mind that righteous Abraham, a "gentile" by birth in what is today Iraq, was not circumcised until he was over 90 years old - see Circumcision).

Map Of The Roman Empire

"10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: he is Lord of all: 10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with The Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree [see Crossing The T]: 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly; 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead [see The Sleep Of Death]. 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues [see The Origin Of Speaking In Tongues and Do You Speak In Tongues?], and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." (Acts 10:34-48 KJV)

From about chapter 14 onward, the book of Acts changes focus from Peter to Paul. Why? Because Peter was where he was, doing what he was given to do - and the documentation of it was then complete. But the world is a big place, and as Peter himself was given to understand, The Messiah is the Messiah of everyone who chooses to accept the LORD's offer of salvation for themselves. That effort to the rest of humanity was started by the LORD, through Paul, because Paul had the training in writing (most of the epistles were written by Paul because of the distances involved in his ministry, while Peter could, for the most part, do the same in person - Peter may not have been able to write at all, as was normal for "regular guys" at that time) and languages, primarily Greek.

Later, after Paul's ministry (see the Fact Finder question below) had been widely established, Paul visited Jerusalem where he was recognized as an apostle, just as Peter was there (Peter, along with the others, were each an apostle to a tribe of Israel i.e. "19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" Matthew 19:27-28 KJV).

"2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel [see The Gospel of The Kingdom of God] of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 2:8 For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision." (Galatians 2:7-9 KJV)

Fact Finder: Where did Paul go on each of his three major missionary journeys?
Acts 13:1 to 15:35 Paul's First Missionary Journey
Acts 15:36 to 18:22 Paul's Second Missionary Journey
Acts 18:23 to 21:17 Paul's Third Missionary Journey


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