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May 17, 2013

Here is another guest article  by Larry Shelly: a very needed lesson.



         Mark must have felt like a failure.  He may have been the young man with Jesus in Gethsemane who fled naked to avoid arrest. (Mk. 14:51f.)  Only he records it.  Who else would have known?  That it was Mark makes sense.  Just a little note to history to reflect his regret.  But, then, maybe it’s the stumbling that grows. 

         The son of a well-off Jerusalem mother who had early accepted Jesus as her Savior, Mark (or John, as was his given name) showed early promise.  Barnabas (a kinsman) and Paul took him to Antioch—and then as an assistant on the First Missionary Journey.  Who now knows why, but he left the team at Pamphylia and returned home.  Paul refused to take him again.  Why?  Who knows?  But Barnabas gave him a second chance. 

         Thankfully, the whole story’s not told by early failure.  God loves to give second chances.  At next mention he’s in Rome, one of Paul’s fellow workers. (Philemon 24) and commended by the Apostle to the church at Colosse (Col. 4:10).  As Paul faced death at Rome, he writes, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” (II Tim. 4:11)  Peter, at about the same time, refers to him as “Mark, my son.” (I Peter 5:13)  Leaders of the early church credited Mark with the writing down of Peter’s account of the gospel as our Bible book, Mark.

          I’d say that’s a pretty good turnabout.  God must have included Mark’s story to inspire us.  Just because someone gets off to a shaky start doesn’t mean we ought to give up on him (or ourselves).  Since God doesn’t have any perfect people to work with, He uses what He has available.  Think of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Samson, and David—all flawed people.  God used them anyway—to bring history and a people to Calvary.

         Please, don’t get the idea that we ought to stay that way.  Mark didn’t.  We don’t know his whole story, but we do know that from a stumbler we got a hero of the faith.  Because of him, we know so much more about Jesus.  A failure he wasn’t.

                                                            Larry A. Shelley

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