Lessons from the Life of John Mark

Lessons from the Life of John Mark

There is an interesting story that begins in Acts 13.

God tells the church to commission and send out Barnabas and Paul to other cities, telling the people they meet about Jesus. They do this, taking with them John (also called, John Mark or just Mark).

The thing is, God didn’t tell them to take John Mark; he apparently doesn’t belong there. This is borne out later, when John Mark deserts Barnabas and Paul to return home.

Later, Barnabas wants to give John Mark a second chance (an example of mercy), but Paul says “no” (an example of justice). They part company over this disagreement, each going their separate ways. This might seem like a bad thing, but it turns out to be a good thing, as they are then able to cover twice the ground, doubling their effectiveness and outreach.

For John Mark, his story ends on a positive note, too, with him and Paul later being reconciled (an example of grace) and Paul esteeming John Mark as his fellow worker and as being useful to him.

This is a great lesson in life. Despite making mistakes along the way, we can still finish well. John Mark did and so can we.

[Acts 13:2-3, 5, 13; Acts 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:24, and 2 Timothy 4:11]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 Comments

  • Michael Kitchen Posted November 17, 2019 9:24 am

    In preparing for class yesterday I looked for speculation as to why John Mark left Paul and Barnabas after they arrived at Perga. I noticed in Scripture that John Mark was not included in the Holy Spirits call upon Paul and Barnabas but thought Barnabas may have convinced John to accompany them due to their relationship. I read one author who speculated that John Mark may have not liked the Gentiles being included in the ministerial outreach and thus returned home to Jerusalem. I have concluded once again it is not necessary for me to know the reason(s) . But I sure do relate to the mercy, justice and grace that has been extended time and time again to me. Thank you for the observation and truth you have afforded us by this post. May God richly bless you and yours on this beautiful Lord’s Day. mdk

    • Peter DeHaan Posted November 18, 2019 8:06 am

      Michael, I appreciate your feedback and pray that your class went well!

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