I want you to know, brothers and sister, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. (verses 11-12)
Once again we are taken back to the remarkable scene on the Damascus Road as Paul (then known as Saul) was intercepted from his own headlong journey, to follow instead the completely unanticipated pathway of discipleship to Jesus Christ. Who could have guessed? Certainly not Paul.
Having been arrested, redirected – saved! – in that blinding flash of encounter with the Risen Lord, Paul was captured by the powerful embrace of the gospel.
Previously, he had viewed Jesus as a blasphemer – now he knew him as Lord of all. He had seen him as cursed by God – now he knew him as the One who had become a curse for us. He had relied on his own righteousness, striving to attain it by keeping the law – now he knew his only hope was in a righteousness apart from law, a righteousness that is by faith.
And previously, he had perceived salvation as being offered to Jews alone. But now, he understood “that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Eph 3:6).
Such a radical change, in such a short timeframe, is unimaginable apart from the direct revelation of the Lord himself. And that is what Paul claims. The gospel that transformed him, the one which he himself then preached, was “received … by revelation from Jesus Christ.”
This explains the suddenness of his own turn-around. But it also highlights the gospel’s authenticity and truth. For if Paul had come under the influence of human teachers, powerful and persuasive enough to shift his entrenched perspective, the message he subsequently preached would have been open to skeptical critique.
But Paul affirms it did not come to him from a human source. Not at all. He didn’t receive it from any living person. Rather, it came to him directly from the Lord himself, by revelation, inspired by the Spirit.
This is important for the Galatians to understand because they themselves have come under the undue influence of persuasive human teachers who are steering them in the wrong direction. They are accepting a “different gospel” than the one Paul had preached, whose truth had led to their conversion. When it comes to spiritual truth, which is the weightier source: human teachers or divine revelation? The answer, it would seem, is obvious.
So, too, for us. The gospel we have received – the very gospel of Jesus Christ – has been divinely sealed. It is sure and certain. For all eternity.
Don’t look anywhere else.
Lord Jesus, I affirm the absolute authenticity and authority of your gospel. Thank you that it spells certain freedom and salvation for me – not by anything I have done, but simply by your grace, by your death, by your own sacrifice, freely given. I receive it all by faith. Praise your name.
Reflect: Paul received the gospel by revelation – his blinded eyes were given sight. Our eyes, also, have been opened through his witness. Without this gift, we would be blind yet. Take several minutes of quiet to simply thank the Lord for all you have received as a result.