The apostle Paul is keenly aware of the fact that the truth of the gospel is not only denied when people speak against it, as had happened in Jerusalem, but also when those who profess the truth act in ways which compromise it, as happened in Antioch. Our behaviour will often say more about our true values and fears than our words.
Once upon a time there was a great manager of a football team. The football team had much going for it but it had become clear that this team was never going to succeed in winning the ultimate trophy. Then something spectacular happened: the manager became a player – the captain of the team – and radically transformed it. The team now included non-Jewish alongside Jewish players. Some members of the old team preferred to follow the old ways rather than their true player-manager. But Peter was on the newly transformed team – except that under pressure from one section of the fan block he suddenly refused to pass the ball to the fellow members of his team who weren’t Jewish. “Hey, which team are you on?” asked Paul, “Your jersey tells us that you belong to the team of Jesus Christ, so play accordingly!” It’s the manager who determines who plays; it’s not up to me to say that someone first has to become more like this or that before I accept them as a fellow team member.