For the Inspiring Word, the month of March will begin a new series of articles titled “Unlikely People That God Used.” We’re going to learn from God’s word there isn’t anyone the Lord will not use if they will come on His terms. My inspiration comes from the many people I meet who have awesome testimonies about how God rescued them from drugs, alcohol, dangers and even themselves. Yet, despite their awesome testimonies many of them feel God has no place for them. Talking with them has made me realize there are a lot of born-again believers who for whatever reason believe God won’t use them because of their past. I want them and everyone reading this series to know that God’s word is filled with men and women who were saved from devastating situations and moved forward to proclaim the gospel and lead many to Christ. This series will share the stories of many from God’s word and my prayer is that it will encourage you to be obedient to God’s call for your life and let Him call others through you.
Let’s begin with a familiar name, someone we all have heard of. John Mark! We’re introduced to John Mark, in the book of Acts. From chapter 12 where James the brother of the Apostle John has been executed by Herod and Peter has been jailed until after Easter. Then Peter was to be executed also. The Bible tells us God moved and freed Peter, He went to a house where believers were meeting to pray. So, from Acts 12:12 in the KJV, we learn “And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” Peter came to Mark’s home where God was worshipped and served daily. So, we know Peter was an influence on Mark through his mother Mary.
We also know from Colossians 4:10 that Mark and Barnabas are cousins. This explains the relationship that placed Mark in the company of Barnabas and the Apostle Paul. However, things did not go well for Mark. He accompanied Barnabas and Paul on a missionary trip and for unknown reasons, Mark abandoned the group and returned to Jerusalem. This did not sit well with Paul. Sometime later there was a second trip planned and Barnabas wanted to give Mark a second chance, but Paul said no. There was an argument, Paul and Barnabas parted ways. Barnabas took Mark and went one direction while Paul took Silas and went another direction. Mark had not only abandoned Paul and Barnabas, but he had also failed the Lord! That is the point of this story. I will venture to say none of us have gone through life and not failed the Lord?
Our lives before salvation were to a degree a failure, many of us after being saved either by choice or circumstance failed God. So, does that mean our ability to serve God is forever ruined? Let’s continue with Mark’s story and find out what happened to him.
We lose track of Mark for about ten years, then his name reappears in scripture. From Colossians 4:10-11 from the KJV we read “Aristarchus my fellow-prisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) (11) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellow workers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.” Paul refers to Mark (Marcus) as a fellow worker for the kingdom of God! Wow, what happened? Well, remember Peter. According to 1 Peter 5:13 while closing his letter Peter refers to Mark as his son. Not by birth, but by faith. Just as Timothy was Paul’s son Mark was Peter’s son in the faith. You see, others may have written Mark off as an unreliable servant of the Lord, but Peter knew what it was like to suffer the humiliation of abandoning Christ and having to recover a reputation from it. Simply put, Grace and Mercy was what happened to Mark. Mark became a strong ministry partner to Paul as we learn from 2Timothy 4:9-11 KJV “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: (10) For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. (11) Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.” Paul once again has been abandoned but this time he asks for help from none other than Mark. Our understanding is that help came, Mark was a stand-up soldier for Christ, having earned the respect of his peers. Mark went on to write one of the four gospels, believed by many scholars to be the experiences of Peter scribed by Mark.
When we apply Mark’s testimony to our lives, we learn that failures are recoverable and not only that they can be beneficial to the Lord’s work in and through our lives. If you have a Mark moment in your life don’t be hard on yourself. Come to the Lord, ask His forgiveness and find a godly, patient mentor to begin the process of maturing into a modern-day Mark.
Until we meet again in person or in print, may God richly bless you is my prayer!
Terry is the Executive Director and broadcaster of The Inspiring Word media ministry. You can contact Terry by email at [email protected]