women_hairImmediately before our passage from Galatians chapter 2, Paul takes to task several apostles for their hypocrisy. For example, although Cephas (St Peter) was in the habit of eating with everyone, including Gentiles; but when some people associated with the Apostle James arrived he then drew back and would then only eat with Jews. This behaviour also had an impact upon Barnabas, leading him astray as well. Paul was not going to have a bar of any of this. He knew that if the cross and resurrection of Jesus meant anything at all, then it had to impact upon the whole of our lives – not just some small compartment that we might call our ‘spiritual’ lives or the way that we behaved with other Christians.

It is in this context that he gives us one of his earliest statements on the significance of the cross and redemption, which we read in Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

We see the outworking of this integrated understanding of the Christian faith in the encounter between Jesus, Simon the Pharisee, and the woman who had let down her hair in response to the amazing mercy that she had received from the Lord.

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Recorded at St Paul’s, 6pm (8’09”)
Sunday 11C