I was reading Acts 21 today and was struck by reading how when Paul came to Jerusalem he went to see James. What seems odd about that there is no mention of Peter whatsoever. My questions: (1) At this point in the Judean Church, had James become the more prominent leader? Are there any apostolic writings that inform us about the leadership structure of the early Judean Church? (2) I'm wondering if there was not some lingering tension between Paul and Peter. Each of them had written less than flattering words about the other that appear in the canon and we know there had been confrontation. In addition, if John Mark was in fact the Gospel writer Mark, we know there is longstanding tradition of his relationship to and reliance on Peter for his gospel. If he was close to Peter, I'm wondering how Peter viewed the difficulties between Paul and John Mark. Thoughts? -- D.S.
James is clearly the senior and most respected overseer of the churches in that part of the world. Spreading out the load was Jesus' plan all along. The pressure of one-man leadership can be crushing. Teamwork was the way of the master. But so was spreading out
(Romans 15:18-24; Matthew 28:20)! As for leadership structures, there seems to have been flexibility, though there also seems to have been minimal hierarchy. My podcast on polity
may be of help here.)
By the time of Acts 21, Peter may well already be in Rome. There is good evidence that he was martyred there, and his burial location is known. (The situation is the same for Paul.) I doubt Peter would have gone to Rome because of tension with Paul. The apostles were big boys and they worked things out. Jesus taught them well in that area (Mark 10:35-45), so that when there were bumps, they could be resolved.
(About Peter's perspective on the temporary separation between Paul and Mark, I can only speculate -- and so can you!)