Towards the end of Act 15, an amazing, blunt event occurred. 36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. “Wait a minute” you may be saying. “Let me get this right. Paul the Apostle and Barnabas, a great man of God, had an argument?!” You would be correct. Paul was called to build the church across the world and was incredibly focused to do this. He did not have time for anyone to slow his effort down. However, Barnabas, the Encourager, wanted to take a young man, John Mark, with them. Paul stated bluntly that he did not want this young man with them. Mark had left a journey once before and Paul did not need the drama. However, Barnabas saw a young man who was gifted by God and felt that he needed a 2nd chance. The passage above stated, “there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.” Paul continued on his journey and chose Silas to accompany him “strengthening the churches.” Barnabas took Mark and went back to Cyprus, his home. He focused on this young man of God and built him up.
Now, lets’ finish the story about John Mark, called Mark.
• Later in Paul’s ministry, look who accompanied him, Mark. Colossians 4 “10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are the only men of the circumcision among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me.” Mark had become the man of God Barnabas knew he would be and was a great comfort to Paul. And, he told all churches to welcome him!
• Shortly before Paul was executed in 2 Timothy 4:11, who did he send for? “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.”
• Peter referred to Mark as “my son” (1 Peter 5:13)
• And, most importantly, the Gospel of Mark was penned by him.
At the beginning of Mark’s ministry, who built him up, who defended him against Paul the Apostle’s hurtful words and who encouraged him and taught him to grow in his faith, Barnabas. Barnabas’ life is a huge message to all of us. He wasn’t Paul the Apostle, but he went and got Paul and reconciled him to the church and then took him to Antioch which started his amazing ministry. Then, he defended Mark, built him and got him started. This young man grew to have a huge impact on the world. Barnabas was a builder of men. The application of his life to each of us is “why can’t we do the same thing?” Let’s be a builder of men…a Barnabas Man!