Acts 15:30 – 41
30So they were sent off and went down to Antioch. When they gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31When its members read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation. 32Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33After they had been there for some time, they were sent off in peace by the believers to those who had sent them. 35But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, and there, with many others, they taught and proclaimed the word of the Lord.
36After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. 39The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers commending him to the grace of the Lord. 41He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Paul and Barnabas took the letter from the Jerusalem Council back to Antioch, along with Judas and Silas. The congregation rejoiced, and the visitors encouraged them, and after a time sent them back to Jerusalem in peace. And Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch for a time, teaching and proclaiming the word of the Lord.
After a while, Paul and Barnabas begin talking about going back and encouraging the churches they had established on their first journey. Barnabas wants to take John Mark with them again, but Paul was upset by his leaving them on the first journey and refuses to take him along. Their disagreement became so intense that they split up their partnership and went separately on the following missionary journeys. Barnabas sailed to Cyprus with John Mark, and Paul took along Silas and set out. Again, the believers in Antioch commissioned them for the journey, commending them to the grace of the Lord. They went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. This introduces Paul’s second missionary journey, which Luke will go into in greater detail.
Here, Luke gives us a glimpse of the humanity of Paul, and Barnabas. The Encourager is not willing to leave behind one whom he now thinks needs encouraging – a young relative of Barnabas’ named John Mark. Paul, on the other hand, wants nothing to do with this young man who left them just as they began their last journey, sailing back to Jerusalem. I hear Paul’s response to Barnabas, “What, take him along, and have him leave us again?” The two friends, who have been through so much together, now part company over this disagreement. Paul was not always the easiest man to get along with! But, he would make up with John Mark, and later would write about what a great help the young man was to him. Is this John Mark the author of the Gospel of Mark? If so, it would be many years later that he would write, from memories of his association with the apostles in Jerusalem, and possibly with Peter in a jail in Rome.