I can think of 2 reasons he might need to go:
- Some were complaining that Paul was not preaching the truth. This is a very real possibility, since many there were of Jewish background and probably had a hard time with what Paul was saying, who he was saying it to, and the success he was having. Verse 3 sheds a little light on this, as "not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised."
- Perhaps it was that "they" (those in Jerusalem, from the leaders to the everyday Christians) needed to hear it and be reminded of the Gospel message. Verse 2 states that Paul "went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles, so we should assume that God was ordaining that this should take place.
Perhaps it was a combination of both. This just convicts me all the more of the need to guard ourselves from becoming complacent about the Gospel. If we think we have it down, if we think we have the truth and are okay, I think we are in danger. The Scriptures constantly remind us to be on guard. Thinking we have it right is not being on guard.
What are you hearing this morning in your church? Is it truth? Or is it just a bunch of moral goodness dripping from the fountain of a Christ-less well? Or maybe there is just enough God in it that we can pat ourselves on the back and walk out feeling good about everything.
It is not that we shouldn't leave church feeling good. It is just that we should leave it feeling good for the right reasons. I can't help but remember the day that my heroine addicted, agnostic brother agreed to go to church with me. After hearing what I thought was a stellar sermon that could have answered some of his questions and helped him deal with his problems, I asked him what he thought. His response haunts me to this day. He thought it was lame. What if he had come to your church this morning? Did the message preach to the choir? Were the Christians shouting "AMEN?" What would a non-Christian taken away from the experience? Would it be that this is a good bunch of people, or would it be that we serve an awesome God?
Should we ever have a Sunday that does not share in a powerful way, what an awesome God we serve?