Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Hello Friends: 9.29.11- Barnabas the Uniter

Hello Friends,

Hopefully you’ve been following along in my weekly emails as I’ve been spotlighting a gentleman in Scripture named Barnabas. We don’t know a ton about him except from the Book of Acts. At the time you will be reading this Denise and I will be touring the land of the Acts of the Apostles – Athens, Ephesus, Rome, Crete, Patmos, etc. This is an exciting trip for five of us from West Salem Foursquare, as we join with twenty others from around the United States.

This tour of the Footsteps of Paul wouldn’t have happened without a Barnabas. Sure, God would have accomplished his purposes another way, but I do wonder how many things the Lord simply won’t do without our partnership and obedience. 

Barnabas was an obedient partner.

His primary ministry buddy was Paul, but occasional he would pick up others.  

Case in point:  John Mark.

Acts 12:25 says “When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.”

Who is John Mark?  Colossians 4:10 indicates that he is the cousin to Barnabas. Luke 13:13 tells us that Paul and his companions (which would have included Barnabas and John Mark) put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphilia, but John [Mark] left them and returned to Jerusalem.

Why did John Mark leave?  The text is unclear, but many speculate that he was uncomfortable about the mission to evangelize the Gentiles. John Mark, a resident of Jerusalem, perhaps bailed because of the focus upon “non-Jews.” Some have called him the “New Testament Jonah.”

Acts 15:36-41 points out how Paul didn’t want John Mark to be with them on their upcoming trip because of how he abandoned them during the first missionary journey. There was a sharp disagreement to the point of Paul and Barnabas parting company. This is something certainly worthy of study, however, I want to focus our attention to who Barnabas took with him:  John Mark.

I love this about Barnabas. He is a UNITER. 

You may say, “Well, if he was such a UNITER then why did he part company with Paul and take sides with John Mark?”  That’s a valid point, but one must dig deeper into Scripture to get the full story. The Book of Acts does not give us any further detail but other New Testament writings of Paul do.

2 Timothy 4:11 (Words of Paul) – “Only Luke is with me. Get [John] Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful [useful] to me in my ministry.”

Colossians 4:10 (Words of Paul) – “My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does [John] Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have received instruction about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.”

Philemon 24 (Words of Paul) – “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do [John] Mark…my fellow workers.”  

It would appear as if Paul and John Mark got the band back together again!  Not only that, but Paul now finds John Mark to be a great asset to his ministry.

We don’t know this explicitly from the biblical text, but I have to wonder if Barnabas had anything to do with this change of heart. After all, he’s a UNITER.

Do you bring people together?

Pastor John

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