Bible Insights

Discover the Comeback of John Mark

Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

A person who keeps resurfacing in the Bible is a man with two names. Sometimes he is Mark, and sometimes he is John.

For clarity, Luke often refers to him as John, also called Mark, John Mark for short. Let’s explore the failure and the comeback of John Mark.

John Mark’s story begins in Acts. When Peter is miraculously released from prison he heads to the home of John Mark’s mom, Mary. They are praying for Peter at that time. John Mark is likely a part of that prayer meeting (Acts 12:12).

Barnabas (John Mark’s cousin) and Paul take him on a missionary journey (Acts 12:25). He helps them at first (Acts 13:5). But after a while, John-Mark bales on them early on and returns home, to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13).

Later, Barnabas wants to give his cousin a second chance, but Paul adamantly disagrees and the two-part company over John Mark’s failure (Acts 15:37-40).

However, the story doesn’t end there. John Mark makes a comeback and wins Paul over.

In Paul’s various letters, he affirms their relationship (2 Timothy 4:11), calls John Mark a coworker (Philemon 1:24), and asks the church to accept and welcome him (Colossians 4:10). 

Peter also affirms John Mark (1 Peter 5:13).

John Mark rushed into ministry before he was ready—he didn’t “count the cost” (Luke 14:28)—and did not prove to be faithful. Despite his poor start, he turned things around and finished well, helping both Paul and Peter. 

He is likely the author of the gospel of Mark.

[Discover more about the Bible at Bible FAQs, Bible Dictionary, Books of the Bible Overview, and Bible Reading Plans.]

Read about more biblical characters in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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