So, how do you deal with failure?
How do you get over something like causing the first ever church schism?
Let’s take a look at what happened…
- The wilderness years
Now we have a quiet period. John Mark goes home and we hear nothing of him for the rest of the missionary journey and the council of Jerusalem.
But it does seem that in that time he comes to a place where he can reconsider going back on the mission team. This is probably in a large measure due to his cousin Barnabas who asks Paul to take him back in Acts 15:36-41.
This passage helps me understand John Marks type of failure. John Mark did not give up the faith. He did not give up the fight totally. He did not turn his back on Christ.
And so it helps me understand his type of failure.
He turned his back on his calling. His mission. The challenge.
Which was and is serious. It was a failure.
John Calvin comments on this;
‘He withdrew himself from Paul’s company, but he fell not away from Christ’.
Thankfully for John Mark he was kept by grace, not by works.
However, Paul is adamant that John Mark should not be allowed back onto the mission field yet – either because he is not to be trusted, or because he wants to discipline him.
However, this clashes with immense consequences with Barnabas’ heart for encouragement. They split.
How would you feel in that situation? John Mark has just caused a split between two great men of God – two great missionaries – two great friends.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the split, both go off to mission and God uses them both.
Paul picks a new companion in Silas, and John Mark follows his encouraging cousin Barnabas to Cyprus.
Even though it’s in awkward circumstance – John Mark is back on track. The failure has been given a second chance and he’s grabbing it with both hands.
What happened next do you think?