Have you ever failed as a Christian? Gone to do something and then given up or not even bothered beginning? Have you had that feeling of desperate shame in prayer and horrible guilt in the company of Christians – because you’ve failed?
If you have, you are not alone. Good Christians fail.
I want to look at an amazing example of a good Christian who fails, and is then restored.
- The Jerusalem years
John Mark is not a famous character in the Bible. In fact, he wasn’t a famous character in the early church – he needed to be named along with his cousin Barnabas usually. Just like some of you would have read my name in this blog and thought – ‘who is he?’, and some one may have said to you ‘oh, he’s married to Becca’, ‘he replaced Kevin Adams’, etc.
John Marks mother was a very godly lady called Mary. She was very well off and was probably a widow. We know this because of Acts 12:12-14
At this time persecution had broken out in Jerusalem and Herod is on the war path. Yet in the midst of this danger Mary allows the disciples and others to meet there for prayer.
And see how Peter naturally goes to her home. Stott points out that this is evidence that this house was used regularly for such events – this house was an early days church. This is a very godly lady who is willing to risk for the sake of the gospel.
We notice that it is called her house – so there is probably no dad any more.
It was in this environment that John Mark was growing up. What an amazing home! A godly mother entertaining the most godly of men – including the leader of the day Peter. It may be that Peter and Mark grew close over this time (in the same way as Paul and Timothy were going to). Some even suggest that John Mark was converted under Peter’s ministry.
Peter calls John Mark his spiritual son. Whatever the whole story, it is clear that during the Jerusalem years, John Mark had the best surroundings and up bringing.
But it all starts to go wrong…