The great controversy in Paul’s career was over the initial rite of Judaism. It would have been comparatively calm, if he had been willing to admit that Christianity was a sect of Judaism, and that men must become Jews before becoming Christians. His contention was that the ceremonial aspect of the Law did not apply to converts from heathendom. Gentile sinners had the right to go directly to Jesus Christ for salvation, without traveling around the circuitous route of Judaism. When men insisted on the outward rite, he resisted it with all the fiery vehemence of his nature, Gal 2:3; Gal 2:12. But when his opponents were willing to admit that circumcision was not essential, he administered it to one of Jewish blood, as a concession to the weak and uninstructed, Act 16:3.
What blessed intercourse the four men here named must have enjoyed together! James would tell of the earlier biography of Jesus, in the home of Nazareth; Peter would dwell upon his own fellowship with Christ throughout our Lord’s active ministry; John would unfold Jesus’ inner life, as he afterwards did in his Gospel; Paul would tell of that revelation of the risen Christ on the Damascus road. Note that God must work in and for us, if we are to succeed in the gospel ministry. See Gal 2:8.