Like peas and carrots, those two guys Paul and Barnabas – haha. They had traveled together for 2 years, healing people, casting out demons, preaching Jesus and successfully starting many churches. They had paid their own way, working hard to be a benefit and not a burden to everyone the met. They had fought together against the Judaizers who wanted to force Christian Greeks to be circumcised and won.
Then it happened – Acts 15 recalls a “sharp disagreement” about JonMark. You see JonMark was Barnabas’ young cousin, who traveled with them on this journey because he was smart and could write very well (he wrote the Gospel of Mark). After about 7 months on the road JonMark “deserted” them. Barnabas wanted to take JonMark on their second journey, but Paul refused, so they split ways.
Fast forward about 15 years, Paul tells Timothy . . . “Get Mark [JonMark] and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:11 NIV) But Paul didn’t like Mark! Right!?! Wait, what happened? 2 things that are distinctly Christian happened . . .
- Forgiveness – Paul and JonMark chose to forgive each other. JonMark could have held it against Paul just the same. Instead, both chose to forgive. God offers forgiveness to our world and this distinctly Christian ethic has revolutionized the world in every sphere.
- Reconciliation – it’s recorded in Colossians and Philemon that JonMark traveled with Paul again and helped him while he was in prison. They got the band back together! There was peace and strength in their relationship and even in their work together. It’s like our world to divide; it’s like God to reconcile.
True forgiveness and reconciliation does not happen without Christ. Every other relationship is conditional, just waiting for the next foot to drop. But you don’t deserve that kind of reconciliation. You deserve to be fully accepted, fully forgiven, fully at peace, and fully loved by God. Be reconciled to God and people today. Paul and JonMark both deserved to be fully reconciled, and Jesus makes that possible.