Things are going well Spiritually. Perhaps you’ve been hangin’ with some good, strong people. You’re doing well, feel like you’ve really got it… Then, some situation comes up and — how quickly things go wrong!
Paul and Barnabas met with Peter in Galatians 2:9-10. Things were going well for Peter. In fact, Paul said he could be considered a “pillar” of the Truth. At the time he was with James, the Lord’s brother (who preached for a long time in Jerusalem) and the Apostle John. I think we might all agree it’s easier to “be what you’re supposed to be” when you’re with others who are, well, being what they’re supposed to be. Anyway, there was Peter extending the “right hand of fellowship” to Paul, encouraging him to continue his work with the Gentiles and remember the poor.
Then… Peter went to Antioch (:11ff). It was the church where Paul worked with a number of those Gentile Christians. Peter had no problem “eating” with them, accepting them, hangin’ with them. They were brethren, just of a different racial background.
But then… Certain brethren joined them from Jerusalem (Jews from where James preached). Peter withdrew himself from the Gentiles with whom he had been associating, fearing the Jews. Before they were all Christians, Jews had no dealings with Gentiles (cf. Acts 10:28); but, Peter had been shown that things had changed. It did not matter – fear led to him being a hypocrite. Now, Paul had to withstand him to the face… How quickly it all goes wrong…