And when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.
For, until some people came from James,
he used to eat with the Gentiles;
but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself,
because he was afraid of the circumcised.
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him,
with the result that even Barnabas
was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road
in line with the truth of the Gospel,
I said to Cephas in front of all,
"If you, though a Jew,
are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?"
It seems Paul had to correct Peter at the beginning of the early years of the church. It wouldn't have been a good thing to continue in the way of hypocrisy. And this is not one of those times when we should imitate. Or follow the saying do as I say not as I do. Paul in his revelation, needed to step in and fix a broken part of the body.
We read of how Peter ate with a certain group of people, only to act when others were around that he shouldn't have. How truly wrong that is. I've seen this happen even in our day, when an influencial person ate with a lower class, only to act as if they shouldn't have. True hypocrisy. Something Jesus teaches us is wrong to do. He teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves.
It is a shame that this happened in the early years of the church. It is sad that the one who was entrusted the keys to the kingdom could do such a thing. But this is how God teaches and mends our errors too. We are shown that through others we are corrected of our faults. We are taught to follow the right way, just as Paul corrected Peter of his error. No one is perfect, we sin, we cause errors in others too. It is through God's will and guiding spirit that we follow the way of the Lord. We all know this ourselves, yet when we too do as they speak of today and commit hypocrisy because we fear being caught slumming so to speak, then shame on us big time.