Acts 15 – 2019-09-19
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Acts 15:36-41 (ESV)
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Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.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.
- Reflection Questions
- Acts 15:36-41
- Consider the source of this “sharp disagreement” between Paul and Barnabas. Recall the mention of John Mark in a previous chapter: “Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem” (Acts 13:13). Why would these two men separate based on a disagreement over such a nonessential matter?
- Despite this split, it can be noted that “out of this disagreement came a doubling of their labor, for Barnabas went to strengthen the churches in Cyprus and Paul went to the churches in Syria, Cilicia, and then Galatia.” In addition, both of their assistants (Mark and Silas) went on to have significant ministries themselves. Lastly, we know from the below passages from Paul’s epistles (both written after the events of Acts 15) that Mark and Paul were reconciled (although Scripture gives no clues regarding Barnabas) and Mark became a needed kingdom worker.
Colossians 4:10 (ESV)
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),
2 Timothy 4:11 (ESV)
11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.
What can I learn from this unfortunate episode and its aftermath?