Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Acts and Mission 62

posted by Scot McKnight

JerusTem.jpgJerusalem remained at that time the center of God’s people and that meant also the central city for the Church, the people of Messiah Jesus. This is the context for the next passage, a passage for which we need to give thanks and about which we need to be sorry:

15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord to see how they are doing.”15:37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 15:38 but Paul insisted that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. 15:39 They had a sharp disagreement, so that they parted company. Barnabas took along Mark and sailed away to Cyprus, 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and set out, commended to the grace of the Lord by the brothers and sisters. 15:41 He passed through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

We cannot be sure what it was about John Mark that concerned Paul the most — probably his defection in the mission — but that’s not the issue. For me the issue is that we have two major leaders, Barnabas and Paul, two ish elohim (man of God), two whom God had used in God’s mission, but who now couldn’t agree and so went their separate ways.
There is a touch of sectarianism perhaps here: Luke tells us that the Church at Antioch commended Paul and Silas but no such word is said of Barnabas and John Mark. Perhaps we should not read into this.
Silence may be golden. What we know is that Luke favors the Pauline mission and he tells that story. Barnabas and John Mark, who may have had reservations about this Gentile mission stuff, go to Cyprus and we can infer they carried on the Messiah’s work there — never to be heard from again, just as many others have labored in silence in the work of God’s mission.


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Rick

posted November 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm


“Perhaps we should not read into this. Silence may be golden.”
Thanks for this. It bugs me when people try to explain who was right and who was wrong in this situation. The text does not say, nor does it say either was necessarily wrong.



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posted November 17, 2009 at 2:39 pm


I’ve always found it encouraging that Paul later called for John Mark’s cooperation and came to regard him as “useful” (2 Tm 4:11).



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