In Pisidian Antioch : 13 From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John (Mark) left them to return to Jerusalem.
*Oops, bulletin picture is apostle John ^^;
Previously, Barnabas was mentioned first.
Acts 11:30 – Prophecy of famine coming into the world, the saints in Antioch agreed to send supplies to Judea. They sent it in charge of Barnabas and Saul.
Acts 12:25 – Returned from Jerusalem, “and Barnabas and Saul” returned, and they took on John (Mark) and a relative (nephew or cousin?) of Barnabas.
Acts 13:2 – While the leaders in Antioch were ministering and fasting, the Holy Spirit (HS) said, “set aside Barnabas and Saul.”
Three times, Barnabas was named first, then Saul.
Now, Acts 13:13 we read, “Paul and his companions” = (those around Paul) – Paul becomes center stage, and the others become satellites around him. He is the leader, dominant partner in the missionary team.
There is no specific indication WHY Paul becomes the leader here, perhaps due to the HS’s direction during the period when Paul called a mist of darkness to come upon a magician they met (Elymas). When the proconsul saw this power of God, he believed and the activities of Satan were frustrated through Paul.
Perhaps the HS is clearly at work in Paul at this point, so he becomes the leader.
Also, at this point John (Mark) returns to Jerusalem. No reason given here.
Perhaps Mark didn’t like that Barnabas is no longer the leader (perhaps the same has happened in some churches).
Or he may be in disagreement over some parts of the presentation of the gospel to the Gentiles.
Or he may have been homesick.
Or he may have been afraid of the next part of their journey – they would have to cross high mountains, endure floods, avoid robber crowds. It may have seemed a daunting future.
Whatever the reason, he returned.
Paul didn’t like it. Acts 15:38, he said, “desertion.”
Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36~) returned to some of the churches they’d planted to see how they were.
Barnabas wanted to take (this same) John (Mark) with them. Paul didn’t want to since he’d deserted them previously.
They had such a sharp disagreement, they separated. Paul chose Silas, Barnabas took John Mark. Paul returned and strengthened the churches. Barnabas continued on.
Who was right? Paul or Barnabas, or both?
Here are two men – crashing into each other verbally, angrily perhaps – and separated.
Paul was task-oriented. He wanted to accomplish his mission (the Lord’s mission).
Barnabas was people-oriented. He wanted to restore John Mark.
They separated, yet, now there were two missionary teams. So, God directed the two, he overruled their argument and sent them separately.
Toward the end of his life, (2 Timothy 4:11), Paul asked Timothy to bring him Mark – he changed his mind about Mark.
“All’s well that end’s well.”
“Let bygones be bygones.”
“Put the past behind you.”
Scottish Preacher, Samuel Rutherford, was reflecting on his youth – the debt he owed to God. “Pray that bygones between me and my Lord, may be bygones.”
The Lord CANNOT forget sins – he is omniscient (all-knowing).
But he CHOOSES not to remember – not to hold past sins against us.
When we repent (turn away from the sin), God forgives us and remembers them no more.
“Forgiving is not an emotion, it’s a decision. It’s tearing up the I.O.U.”
– Derick Prince
(I.O.U.) = I owe you, I must repay you.
“Many wives who’ve suffered from their husbands STILL suffer, because they’ve never torn up the I.O.U.’s. They have I.O.U.’s – “you owe me love, you owe me respect, you owe me…” Yet, God holds MANY MORE I.O.U.’s against you. God says, “if you tear up yours, I’ll tear up mine, but if you hold onto yours, I’ll hold onto mine.””
One lady forgave $30,000 in I.O.U’s immediately after this sermon.
Husbands/wives, friends, co-workers, even YOURSELF – have you forgiven these?
Have you forgiven yourself?
If you say, “how could I do this (sin)?”
The answer, “you’re still human, and not yet glorified – you are not perfect, so don’t hold yourself to the standard of perfection.”
- Barnabas: Mark has potential!
- Paul: He’s your relative…
- B: Not true, I help others as well – he has great potential!
- P: We need a tight, close, reliable team – able to endure beatings and scorn. How can we take him? He failed us before.
- B: I’ve talked to him about this, I’m sure he wouldn’t do it again, to refuse him might do damage to his spirit at the moment of repentance.
- P: It’s too soon to trust him.
- B: Remember how soon after your conversion, I trusted you…I’d rather not keep him (Mark) waiting.
“No one can blame Barnabas for giving Mark a second chance, nor Paul for fearing to risk a second chance.”
P & B parted in anger and sorrow.
Paul owed more to Barnabas than anyone.
Barnabas was parting from the greatest spirit of the time.
Who was right?
Most people think Barnabas. Swindoll is tempted to agree. Yet, Proverbs 25:19, “Like a bad tooth and unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in times of trouble.”
Have you ever loaned money to someone who never paid it back? Is it still outstanding? Would you loan that person money again?…Probably not. (This is Paul’s viewpoint.)
He hasn’t paid you back once, he’s more likely to do so again.
What if it has an impact on those we minister to? What if his actions roll over to others in the church and others leave as well?
If you see only Barnabas’ side, you’ve likely never been betrayed or failed by a partner in ministry.
Neither vote for Paul or Barnabas. Both sides have validity.
Yet, in the sovereignty of God, missionaries doubled.
Mark eventually wrote the gospel of Mark, Paul spoke well of him later.
This same thing has happened in churches since then. Church splits, yet God gives grace.
Whitefield (once saved always saved) vs. Wesley (give away salvation – fall from grace)
Q: What happens when you get to heaven?
Whitefield: “Wesley will be so close to God’s throne, I won’t even see him.”
That’s GRACE. Let’s pray we each can show the same kind of grace.