Division Over John Mark (15:36-41)

INTRODUCTION

1. After the controversy over circumcision, (Ac 15:1-35),
another conflict soon arose…
   a. As Paul and Barnabas prepared for another journey –

Ac 15:36
And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go
again and visit our brethren in
every city where we have
preached the word of the Lord,
and see how they do.

   b. Over whether to take John Mark with them –
Ac 15:37-38

Act 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them

John, whose surname was Mark.

Act 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them,

who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with

them to the work.

2. The contention between Paul and Barnabas was so sharp…
   a. They went their separate ways –
Ac 15:39

Act 15:39 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;

   b. With Barnabas taking John Mark, and Paul taking Silas –
Ac 15:39-41

Act 15:39 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;

Act 15:40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended

by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Act 15:41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the

churches.

[It may seem at first that this event would hinder the cause
of Christ. But the saying alls well that ends well certainly applies
here as we consider all that is eventually revealed in the Scriptures…]

I. QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER

   A. WHO WAS JOHN MARK…?
      1. Son of Mary –
Ac 12:12

Act 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the

house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark;

where many were gathered together praying.

         a. Who owned a house in Jerusalem where many gathered
to pray for Peter
         b. Some scholars believe that it may have been where the Last
            Supper was observed
      2. Cousin of Barnabas –
Col 4:10

Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus,

sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments:

if he come unto you, receive him;)

         a. Identified as such by Paul in his epistle
         b. KJV calls him the "sister's son to Barnabas" (i.e., nephew)
      3. Assistant to Barnabas and Saul –
Ac 12:25; And Barnabas
and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled
their
ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
 

13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of
God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to

their minister.

         a. Joining them as they as returned from Jerusalem to
Antioch
         b. Going with them as they set out on their first journey

   B. WHAT DID HE DO…?
      1. Left Paul and Barnabas mid-journey –
Ac 13:13

Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came

to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

         a. Many scholars speculate as to the reason why
         b. Luke does not give the reason why
      2. Which later caused a rift –
Ac 15:36-41
         a. Paul did not want John Mark to join them on the second
journey
         b. Barnabas was adamant about taking him with them
         c. So Paul (with Silas) and Barnabas (with John Mark) went
their separate ways

   C. WHAT EVENTUALLY HAPPENED…?
      1. Paul and John Mark eventually reconciled
         a. Paul instructs the church at Colossae to receive him –

Col4:10

         b. Together with others, Paul says that he "proved to be a
            comfort to me"
Col 4:11

Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus,

sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments:

if he come unto you, receive him;)

Col 4:11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

         c. Paul tells Philemon that Mark and others are "fellow-
            laborers"
Phm 24

Phm 1:21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee,

knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

Phm 1:22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that

through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

Phm 1:23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ

Jesus;

Phm 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

         d. In his last epistle, Paul tells Timothy "Get Mark and bring
            him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry."
2Ti 4:11

2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present

world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus

unto Dalmatia.

2Ti 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee:

for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

      2. Mark became close to Peter, who called Mark "my son"
1Pe 5:13

1Pe 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you,

saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

      3. Mark is considered to be the author of the Gospel of Mark

[Whatever the reason John Mark returned to Jerusalem, no matter
how it
divided Paul and Barnabas, things turned out well in the end.  As we
contemplate these things, here are some…]

II. OBSERVATIONS TO CONSIDER

   A. UPHOLD THE WEAK, BE PATIENT WITH ALL…
      1. Barnabas was determined to give John Mark another chance –

Ac 15:37

Act 15:37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.

      2. Perhaps it was because John Mark was his cousin (or nephew)
         –
Col 4:10

Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus,

sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments:

if he come unto you, receive him;)

      3. But Barnabas was also a man known for his encouragement –
Ac 4:36

Act 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas,

(which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite,

and of the country of Cyprus,

      4. He even gave encouragement to Paul earlier – cf. Ac 9:26-29;
Act 9:26  And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join
himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed
not that he was a disciple.

Act 9:27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles,

and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and

that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.

Act 9:28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.

Act 9:29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

         11:25-26

Act 11:25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:

Act 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch.

And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with

the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

      5. Barnabas put into practice what Paul later enjoined – 1Th 5:14

1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly,

comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all

men.

      — Barnabas was inclined to give people a second chance

   B. THE LORD'S WORK COMES FIRST…
      1. Paul and Barnabas were unwilling to let their contention affect
         their service to the Lord
      2. They could not agree, but they both continued to serve the Lord
      3. Barnabas (and Mark) went to Cyprus (where he was from); Paul
         (and Silas) went to Syria and Cilicia (where he was from)
         strengthening the churches –
Ac 15:39-41
      — A "falling out" with brethren is no reason to stop serving
the L
ord!

   C. NEVER GIVE UP TRYING…
      1. John Mark could have let his initial failure discourage him
      2. But he did not let failure stop his own service to the Lord –

Ac 15:39
      3. He took advantage of another opportunity to serve the Lord
      — Making a mistake is no reason to give up trying again
to serve
the Lord

   D. NOT HOLDING A GRUDGE…
      1. Paul was willing to acknowledge Mark's later usefulness –

Col 4:10-11;

Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus,

sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments:

if he come unto you, receive him;)

Col 4:11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the

circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom

of God, which have been a comfort unto me.

Phm 24; Phm 1:22  But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I
trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

Phm 1:23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ

Jesus;

Phm 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

2Ti 4:11 2Ti 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him
with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

      2. Some refuse to forgive those who disappoint them; not Paul!
      — Give credit where credit is due; praise those who turn
         themselves around

   E. THE END IS BETTER THAN THE BEGINNING…
      1. Mark grew to become useful to the apostles Paul and Peter
      2. He even became useful to us today (in writing the Gospel of
         Mark!)
      3. "The end of a thing is better than its beginning"
Ec 7:8

Ecc 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and

the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Ecc 7:9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in

the bosom of fools.

      — Success is measured by how we finish, not how we start!

CONCLUSION

1. Things certainly turned out well for John Mark, despite…
   a. Disappointing the apostle Paul
   b. Driving a wedge between Paul and Barnabas

2. But in the end, the story of the division over John Mark is one of
   encouragement…
   a. How failure can be turned into success
   b. How nothing should keep us from trying to serve the Lord

Don't let your failures in the past keep you from serving the Lord and
His church in the present…!

 

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