One very joyous thing happens and one very sad thing happens. But the sad thing has good results.
Back in Acts 13:13 there is an event mentioned that I didn’t talk about. The helper and assistant to Paul and Barnabas left the mission trip to go back home. His name was John, also called Mark.
Now here in chapter 15 Barnabas wants to let john Mark rejoin the team but Paul refuses.
“37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord.”
It’s hard to see partnerships break up. When I was 14 I discovered the dynamic duo of Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon. It was 1974. The group quit singing together in 1970. I was so sad to find out this new thing I found was already over. There would be no new material.
I hate breakups. In show biz Frequently one party continues upward and onward and the other lapses into obscurity. After this split Barnabas is not heard of again in scripture although John Mark goes on to write the first of the four Gospels, The gospel of Mark. We hear of him later in a letter written by Paul.
If fame and notoriety were the goal then Barnabas blew it. He disappeared. But his protege continued in the faith. Fame was not his goal. Telling people about Jesus and encouraging young believers was what he was all about. Barnabas’ name was actually Joseph, but he had been given the nickname Barnabas because of the way he acted towards people. Barnabas means “son of encouragement “. What we see in the later life of John Mark is a sign that he probably continued doing just that. He was an encourager. Without his encouraging Saul the converted persecutor of the church, we may not have had most of the New Testament. Without his encouragement of John Mark, we may not have had the Gospel of Mark.
Change isn’t bad. The end of one thing in this case is the beginning of two new things. Instead of 1 group of 3 there were 2 groups of 2. Jesus would be preached in 2 areas at the same time.
The joyous thing in this section of Acts is that the church leadership got together to discuss what the rules are for gentile believers, (that’s me) and the list of rules are:
“28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.”
The christian life is simple but it isn’t easy.