Pastor’s Page, by Timothy C. Turley
37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas and departed…
This Mark is the author of the “Gospel of Mark,” but at one time he was considered a quitter by the Apostle Paul. Mark had gone with Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary trip, but he had returned home shortly after it began (Acts 13:13-14). When they planned to return to those new churches, Barnabas wanted to give Mark another chance, but Paul said, “No way!” There was such a “sharp disagreement” between them that they no longer served together: Barnabas took Mark, and Paul was joined by Silas.
For Barnabas, this is very much who he was as a Christian: His real name was Joseph, but the apostles gave him the title “Barnabas,” which means “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). We see this encouragement when he helped Paul be accepted by the Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27), and we see it with Mark.
He sought to give him a second chance.
How did it work out? Later Mark would be a close associate of Peter (1 Peter 5:13) and would write the gospel (many think he tells Peter’s memories of Jesus). The second chance offered by Barnabas was very successful!
More importantly, note the words of 2 Timothy 4:11: “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.” This is Paul’s last letter, written shortly before his death in Rome. Two gospel writers are mentioned, Luke and Mark, and note Paul’s words for Mark: He is “very useful.” In Colossians 4, Paul also mentioned that Mark was a “fellow worker” with him while he was imprisoned. Whatever his earlier opinion, Paul forgives and appreciates Mark, and we see the love and grace that we are called to exhibit as servants of the Lord! Too often we form opinions on others and are slow to forgive or forget: That is not the way of God’s grace!