Scripture: Acts 15:36 – 16:5
Key verses: (36-41) 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.
Reflection: Ah, a conflict between pastors! Paul wanted Barnabas to go back with him to check on the cities where they had previously preached. Barnabas wanted to take his nephew, Mark, with them. However, Paul didn’t want to take Mark, since Mark had left them earlier (Acts 13:13), and not helped with the work. So, they separated. Barnabas took Mark away with him; Paul chose Silas to accompany him back to visit the cities.
There seems to be much conversation missing between the interaction. How did they feel? Were they angry? Upset? Was the separation based on pride? Or was it peaceful? There was apparently no other solution, so they parted. This serves as a reminder that outside of Christ, we are all imperfect humans. It also serves as a reminder that we are all basically good, as the Apostle Paul speaks positively of both Barnabas and Mark in his letters written after the book of Acts.
Prayer: Dear God, who created us in your image, let us remember you as we find ourselves in situations that separate us. Give us the courage and strength to do what is good in your name. Amen.
Author: Amy Speas
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].