Paul and Barnabas worked together in witnessing for Jesus. But they had a disagreement over whether they could trust one as fearful as John Mark (Acts 15:36-39). The potential dangers of preaching the Gospel had caused John Mark at one point to desert Paul and Barnabas and return home (Acts 13:13).
“This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably, and even severely, for a time. Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse him because of his inexperience. He felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry, for he saw in him qualifications that would fit him to be a useful worker for Christ.” – Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 170.
Although God used all these men, the issues between them needed resolution. The apostle who preached grace needed to extend grace to a young preacher who had disappointed him. The apostle of forgiveness needed to forgive. John Mark grew in the affirming mentorship of Barnabas (Acts 15:39), and, eventually, Paul’s heart was apparently touched by the changes.
How do Paul’s letters to Timothy and the church at Colosse reveal his renewed relationship with John Mark and a new confidence in this young preacher? Col. 4:10, Col. 4:11; 2 Tim. 4:11.
Although details of Paul’s reconciliation with John Mark may be sketchy, the biblical record is clear. John Mark became one of the apostle’s trusted companions. Paul highly recommended John Mark as a “fellow worker” to the church at Colosse. At the end of Paul’s life, he strongly encouraged Timothy to bring John Mark with him to Rome because he was “useful to me for ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11, NKJV). Paul’s ministry was enriched by the young preacher, whom he obviously had forgiven. The barrier between them had been broken down, and they were able to work together in the cause of the Gospel. Whatever the issues between them, and however justified Paul might have believed himself to be in regard to his earlier attitude toward John Mark, it was all behind him now.
|How can we learn to forgive those who have hurt or disappointed us? At the same time, why does forgiveness not always include a complete restoration of a previous relationship? Why does it not always need to?|