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See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen. – Galatians 6:11-18
We had a rule in our home when I was young. When we would come in the front door, we had to say, “Me!” We had to announce ourselves because otherwise someone would have to jump up from their seat and attend to the customer who had come in. I grew up in a mom-and-pop motel, and the front desk was right next to our living quarters. Customers meant potential income, and when someone other than a family member would come in, our livelihood depended on attending to them. When it was one of the family members, we didn’t need to jump to attention. Sometimes it is important to know who is who.
For an entirely different reason Paul is letting people know it’s really him writing to the people in Galatia. He’s taking off the table the idea that someone is putting forth ideas claiming to be his. No, these are not someone else’s ideas. Paul himself is putting forward these teachings. And this is important because Paul is not just a church leader, but a missionary who has given his life for the sake of the gospel and the eternal salvation of the people of Galatia.
In the early days of the Christian church, questions about what is true about God, salvation, and the Christian life were not easily satisfied. There was no Bible (other than the Old Testament) to which people could appeal. And the Old Testament had been fulfilled, and the Old Testament Law was no longer the final authority. The teachings of Jesus were. The Apostles were the final source of authority about life, faith, and salvation. And Paul – though not one of the 12 – was highly esteemed. He would become a source of inspiration and direction for the early church.
As he is all in for Jesus and the people of Galatia. They knew that. So now as Paul speaks to them about the challenges of the circumcision party, he wants them to know it’s really him. They can listen to him. They can believe him.
None of us today have the gravitas of Paul. But surely there are some for whom we hold sway. It may be a son who knows you love him. It might be a coworker who knows you’ve always had her back. It might be a neighbor that you’ve helped many times. But unless we’re willing to claim it’s “me” with the hopes that people will appreciate our good intent for them and our commitment to God’s truth, we’ll not have the impact we otherwise might. When you send an email or text, hopefully those who receive it will recognize your commitment to truth and love for them.