Let’s see if Paul can live his own teaching and forgive…
- The Friends Reunited mail
When we look through the names at the end of the Pauline Epistles we begin to notice a name popping up – a name that shouldn’t be there. Mark – John Mark!
How does he talk of him? Like Alexander the metal worker who did him great harm? Like Demas the deserter? No, Paul writes very highly of John Mark – let’s have a look:
Colossians 4:10,11 and it’s sister letter Philemon 24;
10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.
24And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
John Mark is back in Paul’s inner circle! He is on his team again. Paul has obviously forgiven John Mark and has seen fit to trust and use him again. Look how Paul says he is a comfort and fellow worker. Beautiful! In fact, Paul is about to send him to Colossi and is able to give him a warm recommendation.
It’s rather odd that Paul has to give him a commendation – maybe people gave John Mark a hard time for deserting Paul – but that is pure speculation.
However, the fact remains – the failure has become the friend.
At this point he probably goes off to help Timothy.
Towards the end of his life, however, Paul sends Timothy a letter with this request;
2 Timothy 4:11;
Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
So great was their reconciliation and John Marks fight from failure, that Paul requests him in his dying days as one who is helpful in his ministry.
What a great testament to John Marks restoration.
Wiersbe helps out a bit more by saying;
‘By the grace of God, John Mark had over come his 1st failure and had become a valuable servant of God. He was even chosen to write the Gospel of Mark.’
It seems, according to tradition, that John Mark did just that. Wrote down the memories of his early mentor and father in the faith, Peter. Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis begins this tradition in AD 125.
What a great life story.
What a great account of how a failure can be forgiven and restored.
But now I want to ask how that happened. How could he be restored. How come his faith survived failure? How is it that good Christians fail?