John Mark was no stranger to the pain of rejection. At the end of his letter to Timothy, Paul the traveling preacher called John Mark "useful in ministry". But this was not always so. Earlier in Paul's travels, a young and enthusiastic John Mark had joined him in his ministry. It didn't take long before persecution tested John Mark's endurance to the breaking point. John Mark went home, and Paul finished the mission without him. John Mark's uncle, Barnabas, was a good friend of Paul's and accompanied him for the rest of the way.
John Mark's failure to endure in persecution left such a stain in Paul's perception of him that he later chose to sacrifice his friendship with Barnabas rather than take John Mark back. Paul and Barnabas parted ways over John Mark's desire to return to ministry. For John Mark, Barnabas' sacrifice offered him a second chance. He accompanied his uncle on a preaching tour without Paul.
Scripture doesn't fill in the pieces between this falling out of John Mark and Paul and their reconciliation. We do know that John Mark must have learned to endure, and remained, as his is the name attributed to the oldest of the gospels, the biblical accounts of the life of Jesus. He received grace from his uncle when he had been rejected by Paul, likely a hero. When persecution came, as it certainly would have, he remained. He had grown through his troubles, and become a better disciple by them.
|On Mark's Gospel & Peter's Letters|