God Knows…When Somebody Doesn’t Trust Me – Part 3
With great effort, Paul was able to keep the people of Lystra from sacrificing to him and Barnabas in the belief that they Barnabas were gods. Meanwhile, some of those who had opposed Paul and Barnabas in Antioch and Iconium tracked them down. Arriving in Lystra, they convinced many people of false accusations against Paul and Barnabas. And the same crowd who had been ready to worship them now decided to murder them.
They got a hold of Paul and threw stones at him without mercy. “It’s the end,” thought Paul. Memories of the stoning of Stephen came to mind. Fainting from the pain and covered with bruises, Paul collapsed. The mob thought he was dead and so they dragged him out of the city.
Some brave and loyal friends Paul had made in Lystra gathered around. Quite a number believed Paul’s message and had accepted Christ as Friend and Savior. Imagine their sorrow as they stood by Paul’s bleeding body! But their mourning was interrupted as Paul lifted up his head, and then rose to his feet.
Paul’s first words were praise to God because he had been allowed to suffer for Christ. Then he went right back into the city. Where could a man get that kind of courage? God is the source of such courage. A young man named Timothy witnessed Paul that day and later he became a strong worker for God.
The next day Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe. After preaching and teaching there, they retraced their steps to encourage the new followers of Jesus. Risking danger, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, and then back to Perga and to Attalia on the seacoast. There they boarded a ship headed home. “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
During the time that Paul and Barnabas were home in Antioch, the young Christian church held an important council in Jerusalem, with James presiding. Paul and Barnabas attended, and so did many others. When it was over, they returned to Antioch to give the report of the council. There they taught and preached, but soon Paul’s feet were itching to be on the move again. Like a gardener who loves to check on the progress of his growing plants, Paul wanted to visit the young churches to give them tender care, and to plant new seeds of truth.
It is now that we hear of John Mark again. Paul refused to take him along on this second trip. He didn’t trust him. He felt Mark was not dependable. Barnabas, though, was ready to give him a second chance. He thought that Mark had learned a lot from his first experience, and that he could still become a useful worker for Christ. So on the second trip Paul went one way and Barnabas and Mark went a different way, to Cyprus.
Mark HAD learned a lot. Instead of feeling bitter and negative, he gave himself totally to the work of God. He was determined to make up for his earlier mistakes. Mark had the power of the Holy Spirit to help him. He also had the wise guidance of Barnabas.
John Mark, became the writer of the Gospel of Mark, the second book of the New Testament. He no doubt based his record of the life of Jesus on the eyewitness account Peter gave him.
Later on, Paul realized that John Mark had come around. He had proved himself. He had become a dependable Christian—full of faith and willing sacrifice everything, even his life if necessary. Nearly 20 years later, Paul wrote to the Colossian people, telling them to accept Mark as a fellow worker if he came to them. Near the end of this life, writing to Timothy, Paul said, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).
Nobody has to stay the way he or she is. Trust can be regained. It takes time. It takes patience. It takes determination. But “with God, all things are possible.” God has something important for each one of us to do, and we must not let anyone else discourage us. Failing is not the end of everything. We can get up and try again when we ask God to help us.
Where to find the story: Acts 13-14
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