My thoughts (David Zier):
Did you ever see the show on TVLand called Impastor? Impastor follows Buddy Dobbs, a fugitive and hard-core gambling addict who, in order to hide from a pair of loan sharks, ends up stealing the identity of a recently deceased gay pastor who was relocating to Ladner, a local small-town community.
Buddy has few redeeming qualities. He tends to be real most of the time (straight, seeking gain, womanizer, deceptive, etc.), but then he covers it up so people don’t figure him out. Some have figured him out, while others have not, but he uses his talent of diversion to keep going. He finds “dirt” on others to keep them quiet. How long can this show go on? How many of us live life like a TV show that is deceptive?
I know Paul was not thinking about a TV show, but he is accusing Peter of living a lie. Paul directly accuses Peter of being a stumbling block because Peter decided to sit with a few of his old friends from Jerusalem, rather then remain seated with the Gentile Christians at Antioch. Is it really that bad?
When this letter was written, having table fellowship meant acceptance of the values and morals of those whom you were with. Table fellowship meant allowing the group to influence your conversation and giving equality to their views. Remember, the Pharisees condemned Jesus by saying, “He eats and drinks with tax-collectors, prostitutes and sinners”! Peter was making a huge statement when he picked up his plate and utensils and moved from the table of the Gentile Christians to the table of the Jews from Jerusalem. In our culture today this may not seem to be as big an issue, unless you remember back in grade school where it was important where you sat in the in the cafeteria; with the “in” crowd or the “out” crowd. For Paul in his day, it was worth writing in this letter.
Can I be an imposter? None of us is perfect. Have we looked within ourselves, prayed, and asked God to help us see more clearly the ways we are living, and invite more of Jesus into that heart and living space.
Prayer for the day: God, search me, and help me to find ways in which I can reflect Christ more in my day-to-day life, being more authentically me. Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.