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37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.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!
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” 11 For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue the Lord will speak to this people, 12 to whom he has said, “This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose”; yet they would not hear. Isaiah 28:10-12
These words were directed by the Lord to the ten northern tribes of Israel, who would be taken into exile by the nation of Assyria in 721 BC. The 12 tribes divided into two nations in 922 BC, and through Elijah, Elisha, Amos and Hosea, the Lord had warned of coming judgment for 200 years, but they did not repent or turn their hearts to Him.
In this passage Isaiah described their religion as “precept upon precept…line upon line.” What did that mean? It meant that they saw the Law as a set of rules to know, but they did not know the Lord. He offered them rest (28:12), but they refused that rest, just as they refused to hear the words of the prophets. Their religion was without heart, lacking a relationship with their God. The result was that He would now speak to them through their captors. They would realize God’s will under the rule of a people they could not understand.
As Christians, there is the danger of replacing our relationship with Christ with a set of rules we feel compelled to obey. Jesus offered his rest in Matthew 11:28 (Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest), yet many try to substitute religion for relationship, rules for resting in Him. Do we go to church because we “have to,” or because we want to thank and praise the Lord? Do we see our attendance and offerings as a check on God’s scorecard, or do we offer them out of our love for Him? When Jesus said, “Come unto me,” He was not inviting us to become part of a religion or even a church. He was inviting us to know Him, to live in fellowship with Him. Out of our walk with Him, we want to be part of His church and be obedient to HIM. It’s not an obligation, it’s an amazing blessing!
51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. Luke 9:51
With these words, Luke begins Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem for his last Passover. He was going to offer himself as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). “He set his face” means that he was determined to go to the cross for us: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
The last week of March (March 25 thru April 1) is known among Christians as “Holy Week.” This tradition developed over time to describe the last week of Jesus’ earthly life:
Palm Sunday – When he entered Jerusalem to
the cries of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who
comes in the name of the Lord!” The palm
branches they placed before him gave the
day its name.
Maundy Thursday – “Maundy” means
“command,” and refers to the Last Supper,
where Jesus told us to “do this in memory of
me.” After that Last Supper Jesus would go to
the Garden of Gethsemane, and there he
would be arrested.
Good Friday – His trial went through the night,
and on Friday morning he was condemned
by Pilate and sent to be crucified. He died
around 3 pm, and was quickly buried by 6
pm, the beginning of the Sabbath.
Resurrection Sunday (Easter) – At dawn on
Sunday morning Jesus was resurrected, and
by the end of the day many of his followers
had seen him!
We will have worship services centered around many of these events, and we invite you to be a part of those you can. You can also read the gospel accounts for that last week. I will provide those passages later in March. -Tim