In Mark 2:13-17, Jesus once again breaks the rules. This time, He calls Levi, a tax collector, to follow Him, and He even goes to Levi’s house to eat with other tax collectors and sinners. How could Jesus, a good moral teacher, a religious leader, a respectable man associate with “those kinds” of people?
So the first Sunday of March (the 6th), I tried something new with preaching… I had been scheduled to preach from Acts 15:36-16:5. As I studied the passage, I felt like God was telling me to do something a little different. Normally I would preach an exegetical-expository sermon, but this time I decided to try a first-person narrative. In my passage, Barnabas and Paul, the great missionary team, argue and split over whether or not to take John Mark along with them on their second missionary journey. Barnabas takes Mark and goes one way; Paul takes Silas and goes another.
No doubt Mark was pretty upset that they parted company over him. But, God had other plans for Mark. He brought Mark and Peter together, and they ended up in Rome, where many scholars believe Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark. He and Paul reconciled in Rome while Paul was imprisoned there, and according to the testimony of some early church fathers, Peter sent Mark to plant a church in Alexandria, Egypt. Mark was likely with both Peter and Paul when they were martyred, and eventually would himself be martyred for preaching the gospel.
What may have seemed like a failure in Mark’s life became an opportunity for God to move people around where He needed them to be so that Mark would be mentored by Peter and eventually write his Gospel. God took a mess and painted an amazing picture with it! In this first-person narrative of Mark’s life, I explore what Mark may have felt in the middle of the controversy, and how God’s resolution of the problem actually turned into a great victory for the Kingdom. I hope it’s helpful to you!
This message was delivered at Pontiac Bible Church.