Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
Comment: Here we have two examples of facing the situations and getting on with the work.
- Both Barnabas and Paul were keen to go back visiting the previously established churches and extending the work. Mark, probably a relative of Barnabas had failed to stay with them and Paul saw that as a negative and didn’t want him on the team. Barnabas probably saw that the young Mark needed to grow up and the fact that Mark was prepared to go in spite of his earlier desertion seems to mean that Barnabas was correct. And we do have that beautiful gospel according to this Mark. Possibly Mark backed out because he was busy formulating his gospel. It meant two teams going into the field.
- Timothy was circumcised by Paul or at least by Paul’s command. Here the act had nothing to do with Timothy’s need for it to be right with God. Timothy was going to stand with Paul in the synagogues preaching and teaching. Paul didn’t want Timothy being uncircumcised to stop the forward push of the gospel. Some might call it double standards, personally I think it wise a wise forward thinking decision. Timothy had a great future as a church leader! Paul still continued preaching that circumcision had nothing, not a thing, to do with being saved!
Prayer: Help me to act wisely always in accord with Your Word, my God.