In this post we see how the boy becomes a man and takes on his biggest challenge yet.
How will he do?
- The missionary journey
By the time we come to Paul and Barnabas going on their 1st missionary journey – they want to take John Mark with them. What a great comment on John Mark. Here was a man who not only watched godly men, he was becoming a godly man himself.
Acts 12:25 – 13:5 fills us in.
John Mark is not here a pastoral helper – he doesn’t do any preaching and leading. It is Paul and Barnabas who are set apart for that work. John Mark is here to help in a practical sense. And what a great comment that is on him. He has a servant heart. He is willing to do the practical tasks so that the gospel of Christ can be spread. And so in Salamis in Cyprus we read a good encouragement from the author Luke – John was a helper.
Next they go on to Paphos and have a difficult run in with the occult. But the Lord is good and faithful to them. So they move on to Paphos. All is well. John mark is a growing Christian in the best environment – on the front line of mission.
Yet in Acts 13:13 we read these rather vague words;
13From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem.
What happened? Why did John leave? Was he ok?
Later on we will read Paul’s assessment of the incident – he is very clear what happened. John Mark deserted them. Why? What happened? What went wrong? He was going so well?
Here we have John Marks failure – what went wrong?
Many theories are banded about by commentators, here are a few.
- He was homesick .He missed his mam. He just wanted to go home.
- He was angry. As we read through Acts we see the church go from talking about Barnabas and Paul (2,7) to Paul and Barnabas (13,46). Maybe he was jealous for his cousin.
- He was Jewish. Which he was. Maybe he didn’t like the gentile emphasis in Paul’s evangelism.
- He was scared. Paul and Barnabas were about to do some treacherous roads. Maybe he couldn’t face the task.
To be honest, we just don’t know. And it doesn’t really do us any good to think about it too much. We must always remember in the Bible that the plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain.
All we know, is that here John Mark fails. And he fails big.
But that isn’t the end of the story…