The life and ministry of John Mark is a remarkable story. I’ve often wondered why his story did not become a movie. He intersected with all the major players of the New Testament and recorded the life and ministry of Jesus. As far as we know, he was a witness to the resurrection of Jesus.
We first are introduced to John Mark when the Gospel by Mark’s name records how a teenager followed Jesus on the night of His betrayal. In what has to be one of the strangest events of the New Testament, the anonymous young man runs away leaving his cloak behind. Who would tell such a story unless it was Mark telling about himself.
We assume Mark was in the Upper Room for the Last Supper and also in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost.
When Barnabas and Saul (Paul) set out on the first missionary journey, John Mark went with them but inexplicably left the team about half way through the journey. Many scholars speculate about the reason, but no firm answer has been given. Possibly John Mark’s prejudice against Gentiles rose up when he saw them trusting Christ without first becoming Jews. Or, maybe he did not like seeing Paul take the lead in the missionary journey over his cousin Barnabas. Maybe he simply became homesick. Whatever the problem, John Mark left, and his leaving left a bitter taste in the mouth of Paul.
When Paul and Barnabas planned the second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark again, but Paul refused and the Paul and Barnabas went separate ways.
All of that is worthy of our interest, but it’s not the amazing part of the story.
Later in life both Paul and John Mark served together. At his imprisonment, Paul asked for Mark to come because “he is a help to me in ministry” (2 Timothy 5:11). Mark went on to write the second gospel.
Obviously, Paul and John Mark changed.
Faithful Christians will have disagreements and difficulties. That was certainly the case between Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark. Faithful Christians will also seek reconciliation and cooperation as well as a change of disposition. We have evidence that Paul and John Mark did that as well.
Doesn’t this say that I can change and forgive? What does it say about you?
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