Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. ~2 Timothy 4:11
John Mark is prominent to most Christians as the writer of the gospel that bears his surname, Mark. He also stands out to us as a failure who made a comeback. We sometimes think that if we fail, there is no second chance. However, just like Mark, everyone can come back from failure and be used again by God.
We see the recruitment.
“And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark” (Acts 12:25). John Mark was the son of a woman named Mary and the nephew of Barnabas. It was at his mother’s house that a prayer meeting was held for Peter’s release from prison. John Mark saw the mighty hand of God at work in that prayer meeting. He was also influenced by Barnabas and Paul about the ministry, and without any hesitation, he joined them on their way back to the church at Antioch. What a joy it is when a young man gets a burden for serving the Lord in the ministry.
We see the retreat.
“Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem” (Acts 13:13). After their brief stint on the island of Cyprus, John Mark decided that he wanted to go back home. Scripture does not tell us why, but it could be a combination of fear and Paul taking charge of the leadership for their missionary endeavor. Whatever the reason, John Mark quit and went back home. People quit when they are backslidden, bitter, defeated, discouraged, and disinterested. John Mark decided that the hardships of the ministry were not for him, and he departed from the team.
We see the reservations.
“And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work” (Acts 15:37-38). As they were leaving Jerusalem, Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark with them. Paul thought it not good to take him with them. Paul was concerned that John was not spiritually stable and mature enough to be in the ministry. Barnabas felt the opposite. Who was right? They were both right. However, I would side with Paul that John Mark needed more time in a different setting to mature him and make him sure of his calling. We must remember that when we make a bad public decision, this will lead to spiritual leaders having reservations about our faithfulness.
We see the rebuilding.
“And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus” (Acts 15:39). The friction between Paul and Barnabas resulted in Barnabas making a change in direction and deciding that he would give himself to rebuilding John Mark. Barnabas wanted to see his nephew restored in serving God. For the next several years, John Mark rebuilt his life under the mentorship of Barnabas and Peter. We can start over after we have failed. We can rebuild our lives and our credibility.
We see the recommendation.
At the end of his last letter, Paul recommends that Timothy should take John Mark with him. He said that John Mark was profitable to him for the ministry. John Mark was now at the place where God could use him. Paul was delighted that John Mark had become a true soldier of the cross. All of us can rebuild from a life of failure. Let God and let go!
Have a faithful God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 120-125