Week 42   Day 4


When Paul became a believer, the church in Jerusalem distrusted him.

But there was one man, full of grace, who treated Paul much better than
deserved.  That was Barnabas, who gave Paul the benefit of the doubt.


Later Paul and Barnabas teamed up together for a trip that became
as Paul's first missionary journey.  There was a third person who
along to help, a young man named John Mark.  Not long into the trip,

Mark quit and went home.  Was he too young?  Ill-prepared for such

rigors?  Frightened by hostile people?   We can only guess.


Time passed.  Paul and Barnabas finished their missionary journey and

returned home.  Then at a later date, they decided to go again and re-visit

those people and places again.


Barnabas wanted to take John Mark a second time.  Paul was adamant: 

No way are we taking a deserter.  Barnabas no doubt wanted to restore

Mark, give him a chance to prove himself, to call forth within Mark a

new identity with staying power.  By his actions Barnabas was saying:

I believe you can do this.  I believe you are an asset, a winner, a person

capable of staying the course. 


Paul wouldn't hear of it.  Absolutely not.  We are not taking that kid again. 

The contention between Barnabas and Paul  was so fierce that they
parted company!  Barnabas took Mark and set out in one direction. 

Paul chose Silas and went in the opposite direction.


It's not hard to see both sides of their argument and you can pick which

side you may have taken.  But the irony is that Paul, who received

so much grace and forgiveness from God and from fellow believers,

was unable to extend grace and restoration when Mark needed it.


There is more to this story.  Mark did prove himself.  Years later, Paul

changed his mind about Mark.  In Colossians, Paul mentions that

Mark was in prison with him.  In a letter known as II Timothy, Paul says,
"Bring Mark to me,
because he is helpful to me in my ministry."  And this
is the Mark who
wrote the Gospel which bears his name.


Why tell this story about a terrible argument between Barnabas and Paul? 

Not to diminish anybody, but rather to point out how believable and real

these characters are.  And to show that Paul who knew God's grace and

talked about it so much, still struggled at times to share that grace with

others.  Maybe in a way, that is good news for us, too.




                         ANOTHER MISSIONARY JOURNEY

  Both pain and joy weave through these brief biographies.

                                         Acts 15, 16, 17 & 18


    36Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit in every

city where we have preached and see how they are doing." 

37Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 

38But Paul insisted that they should not take with them one who

had departed from them in Perga.  39The contention became so

sharp that they parted from one another.  So Barnabas took Mark

and sailed to Cyprus; 40Paul chose Silas and departed, 41and

went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

    1Then they came to Derbe and Lystra.  Timothy was there, the

son of a Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek. 

3Paul wanted to have him go on with him, and circumcised him

because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew

that his father was Greek.  4As they went through the cities, they

delivered the decrees which were determined at Jerusalem.  5The

churches were strengthened, and increased in number daily.

    12We were staying in Philippi for some days.  13On the Sabbath

day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was

customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who

met there.  14A woman named Lydia heard us.  She was a seller

of purple from the city of Thyatira.  The Lord opened her heart to

heed the things spoken by Paul.  15When she and her household

were baptized, she begged us, "If you have judged me faithful to

the Lord, come to my house, and stay."  So she persuaded us.

       2 In Thessalonica, Paul reasoned with them from Scripture,

3explaining that Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead,

saying, "This Jesus whom I preach is the Christ."  4Some were

persuaded and not a few of the leading women joined Paul and Silas.

    5The Jews who were not persuaded set the city in an uproar and

attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out.  6When

they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to

the rulers of the city, crying out, 7"Jason has harbored these who are

all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another

king--Jesus."  9When they had taken security from Jason and the

rest, they let them go

    1Paul went to Corinth, 2and he found a Jew named Aquila, with

his wife Priscilla.  3Because he was of the same trade, he stayed

with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. 

4He reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both

Jews and Greeks.  18Paul remained a good while.  Then he took

leave and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. 
              This Bible passage was condensed from the NKJV

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