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Lessons from the Life of John Mark

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(1)   Based upon external evidence (e.g., Papias, Irenaeus, Tertullian & Origen), John Mark is the most likely human author of the second gospel account as arranged in our English translations.

(2)   Who is John Mark and what can we as Christians learn from him today?


I.                   Lesson #1: A person may rise above his/her past failures!

A.    Consider John Mark:

1.      From Acts 12:25, we learn that John Mark accompanied Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey.

a.       However, while in Perga in Pamphylia, he decided to return home to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13).

b.      Why did he return home? 1) Home sick?; 2) Fear of danger?; 3) Upset at Paul’s leadership role? --- Truth is: We don’t know.

c.       However, this would later cause problems between Paul and Barnabas, who wanted to take John Mark along on the second journey (Acts 15:36-41).

2.      Despite this apparent failure, John Mark did not quit and eventually was praised as a diligent worker by Paul himself.

a.       In Philemon 24, Paul called John Mark “my fellow laborer” (Gr. sunergos – “pertaining to working together with, helping, helper, fellow-worker” [BDAG]).

b.      In 2 Timothy 4:11, Paul requested John Mark’s company and noted that he was “useful” (Gr. euchretos – “pertaining to being helpful or beneficial, useful, serviceable [BDAG]; “easy to make use of” [Thayer’s]; “pertaining to being of positive or good use” [Louw-Nida])

B.     Despite your past, will you be a diligent worker in God’s kingdom?

II.                Lesson #2: A person should have a willingness to work together with his/her brother/sister-in-Christ, despite past disagreements.

A.    Consider John Mark:

1.      Paul was unwilling, initially, to give him a second chance.

2.      However, he did not hold a ‘grudge to the grave’ against Paul because he was with Paul during two of Paul’s imprisonments (cf. Col. 4:10; 2 Tim. 4:11) and was a ‘co-worker’ with Paul (Philemon 24).

B.     Are you willing to set aside personal differences and work together for the greater good of God’s Kingdom?

III.             Lesson #3: God has a plan for everyone who is willing to be used by Him.

A.    Very little is known about Mark (Acts 12:12 – Mother = Mary; Col. 4:10 – Cousin = Barnabas); however, God used him in the work of the church and used him to write the second gospel account.

B.     Are you willing to be used by God for the plan that He has for you?

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