Today’s Bible reading is Exodus 29-30, Psalm 30, and Mark 2. Our devotional is from Mark 1-2.
I have heard it said, “Bible believers are the only ones who shoot their wounded!”
If true, that is a tragic statement! We should be compelled to forgive and restore others by the reality we have been forgiven much by God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:8).
I fear many who grew up in church or have known the LORD for years forget the sinful muck out of which God saved us. We forget the command to forgive others to the extent we have experienced forgiveness (Ephesians 4:32).
Today’s Bible reading takes us to the Gospel of Mark and the ministry of John the Baptist; however, before we plunge into that study, let us take some lessons from the life of its human author, John Mark.
Who was John Mark? Unlike the authors of the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John, Mark was not one of the twelve disciples. He was a citizen of Jerusalem (Acts 12:12) and some believe he was the young man who fled into the night when Jesus was arrested in the Garden (Mark 14:50-52). He was also a traveling companion of Paul and Barnabas when they set out on their first missionary journey to Antioch (Acts 13:1-5).
Mark’s journey with Paul and Barnabas came to an abrupt end when we read, “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing [going away; deserting] from them returned [turning his back] to Jerusalem” (Acts 13:13). The cause for John Mark’s sudden departure is not revealed (I speculate the hardships and threat of persecution was the cause).
John Mark reemerges in Acts 15 and his desire to travel once again with Paul and Barnabas becomes a source of conflict and division between the two (Acts 15:36-39). We read “Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark” (Acts 15:37); however, Paul “thought it not good [desirable] to take [John Mark]…” (15:38). The dispute became so great Barnabas and Paul went their separate ways (Acts 15:39-41).
That brings us to the question: “How did John Mark go from being a man with whom Paul was unwilling to travel to the author of the Gospel of Mark? We do not know what transpired in John Mark’s life after he departed with Barnabas; however, we know he went on to distinguish himself as one of God’s faithful servants.
It is believed Mark penned his Gospel while in Rome, leading me to ask,“What brought John Mark to Rome?” The answer to that question is found in Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Paul writes, “…Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable [good; worthy] to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).
When Paul viewed John Mark as a disappointment; Barnabas looked through the eyes of a Mentor and, at the risk of his friendship, lovingly restored Mark to ministry. Perhaps it was this lesson that moved Paul’s heart when he penned:
Galatians 6:1-2– “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
As you read the Gospel of Mark, remember one of the great spiritual lessons we take from its author: God restores failures and uses imperfect people.
Copyright 2019 – Travis D. Smith