5/24 Acts 15:39-40

39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas had stayed in Antioch for some time after giving their report. Some men came from Jerusalem insisting that the Gentile men had to be circumcised if they were to be part of the faith. So Paul and Barnabas went to see the apostles and elders in Jerusalem to settle the matter. The gathered leaders decided that the Gentiles were not obligated to obey the Jewish ceremonial law.

Then Paul and Barnabas decided to go and visit the churches they had started. Barnabas wanted to bring John Mark again. Paul refused to take him because he had deserted them on the previous mission. Instead, Paul took Silas, a man who had come with them from Jerusalem. Barnabas went with John Mark. The church in Antioch commended each team to the grace of God. The dispute resulted in a doubling of the missionary outreach.

Near the end of Paul's ministry, he would ask for John Mark's assistance and write that John Mark was useful for the ministry (2 Timothy 4:11). Barnabas means "encourager." Barnabas was the one who helped Paul to be accepted by the other apostles. He was the one who found Paul in Tarsus and brought him to Antioch. In our verse for today we see him encouraging John Mark with a second chance. Sometimes we need to have the faith to allow a person who has failed in the past to try again.

Consider: Do you know people who need an encouraging word and another chance to prove themselves? Pray and ask the Lord what you should do for them.