v1 – “Paul, an apostle – not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father”
The word “apostle” comes from the Greek words for “messenger” and “send forth”. Where has Paul got his message from?
To those of us who’ve been at Bradford-on-Avon Baptist Church for decades, the fact that Paul’s message to the Galatians is not just human wisdom, but God’s Word, is obvious. It would feel like I was insulting your intelligence to point this out as if you didn’t already know. But perhaps, like me, although you know in theory that this is God’s Word, you often forget to treat the Bible with the respect it deserves. We go through the motions of reading it, but we’re not all that excited about hearing what the creator of the universe has to say to us.
Perhaps you’re here this morning because you got the weeks mixed up and you thought Dan was going to be leading this study, so you were disappointed to see me stood here. Well, I hope you’ll go away from this study forgetting who was leading it, but having heard from God himself. Don’t listen for my thoughts. Look at what God himself is saying in his written word.
v1 – “through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead”
Again, it seems like insulting your intelligence to note that God raised Jesus from the dead, especially just a week after Easter. But again, I think it’s something we’re perhaps so familiar with that it no longer amazes us. When we see so many problems in the world around us, and in our own lives, do we doubt God’s power to fix those things? Well, Jesus died. He was dead. Really dead. He was beaten, scourged, and crucified. His side was pierced with a spear, and blood and water came out. The soldiers didn’t break his legs, because they saw he was already dead. Really dead. So he was buried in a tomb. His disciples believed it was all over. People don’t come back from that. But God the Father raised him from the dead. “Bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave he rose again.” I think it’s worth meditating on that fact every now and then.
Now before we move on, let’s look at some of Paul’s greetings in his letters to other churches:
Romans 1v7: “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints…”
1 Corinthians 1v2: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…”
Ephesians 1v1: “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 1v1: “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi…”
Colossians 1v2: “To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae…”
And compare those with Galatians 1v2: “To the churches of Galatia…”
We shouldn’t put too much weight on what Paul doesn’t say. Our focus should be on what he does say, but this rather blunt greeting gives an early indication that Paul is not as enthusiastic about what’s going on in the church in Galatia as he is about other churches.