“Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (Acts 15:10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Peter preached to both Jews and Gentiles. So did Paul. It seemed, as the Gospel was first preached that maybe it was only for the Jews. But Peter learned right away this was not so. Likewise Paul, who had been the ultimate Pharisee, learned that God’s grace was the same for all people: It is His undeserved mercy in Jesus Christ which brings the forgiveness of sins to all people.
Both realized and preached that the Law was fulfilled in Christ and we are rescued from its curse by Jesus who took our sins on Himself and died for them. When the issue came up as to whether the Gentiles had to follow the Law and be circumcised, both Apostles were on the same page: “No way! How can we put the burden of the Law on the Gentiles when the Jews couldn’t even keep it!”
What both Peter and Paul teach us is that salvation isn’t in the Law but in Jesus who kept the Law for us. This matters today for you because you will find that there are many who want to tell you just exactly how to live and what you can and can’t do if you’re going to be a Christian. Apart from the true commandments of the Law, these commands and rules are made up. They fail to see that the Christian life is lived in Christ and nowhere else.
Jesus died to lift the yoke of the Law from us so that we aren’t burdened by its curse. That doesn’t mean we just go around sinning. It means we live in Christ, trusting that what is sinful has been forgiven by Jesus and that whatever else we do has been sanctified and made holy in God’s sight by our Savior.
For Peter and Paul, the big deal was Jesus whom they preached as the Savior to both Jews and Gentiles. It is He who has rescued us from the curse of the Law that we could not bear and given us new life to live in Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
We praise You for Saint Peter; We praise You for Saint Paul; They taught both Jew and Gentile That Christ is all in all. To cross and sword they yielded And saw Your kingdom come; O God, these two apostles Reached life through martyrdom. (LSB 518:19)