So it was finally agreed, the Gentile Christians would follow the Lord and Him only. They would not be held to the standards of Jewish law or tradition. It was one of the great moments of the early church. They figured out early in their development that it was never about their actions or traditions–instead it was about the God they served. Yet, as the grace of God was brought to the forefront of the Church–its star teacher parted ways with the one man that taught him that very principle.
It was Barnabas that tracked Paul down in his hometown. He brought him back to Antioch where he disciple and trained him for over a year. They were sent out and faced all types of opposition to spread the Gospel–death, dishonor and torture. They made great strides and literally facilitated a true doctrinal milestone. What could possibly go wrong…well, Paul and Barnabas allowed their pride to split their team.
John Mark, of the Gospel of Mark fame–had failed and left for home on the first trip. So when Barnabas wanted to give him another chance–Paul said no way. Ironic, if you consider this was the main teacher of grace. He was the primary persecutor of the early church–one would think he would be the KING of second chance. Call it pride, call it vanity–but for some reason Paul would not give Mark another shot. But, thank goodness–Barnabas did. Meanwhile, Paul and Silas started another journey, “all things work together for Good…”
As we grow in our faith, it does not mean we are not still human. On any given day, we can still exhibit fear, pride, unforgiveness, or a critical nature. That is why our relationship with God needs to be fed daily. We need to start our day in his word and on our knees. Even then, get ready, Satan will do anything to take you off your game and send you back to square one–Then, Like Paul, You can admit your pride and arrogance and say you were wrong. It is a bitter pill, but it is often the best medicine. In his last words before his death, Paul said, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
God Bless You
Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
Farewell…36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.