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The Men of Iron Minute

by Ryan Zook | Curriculum & Content Developer

Old Friends

Have you been thinking about old friends you haven’t talked to? Friendship is a valuable thing. But it can be a challenging thing. 

We need to talk about Barnabas, Paul, and Mark. Their story is messy. 

Barnabas took a risk on Paul. Barnabas is the one who spent time coaching Paul to be the man that God wanted him to be. (If you’re curious about Paul and Barnabas, check out this week’s podcast.) 

Paul and Barnabas spent around three years together, traveling and teaching people to follow Jesus. Early in their journey, they were joined by Mark, the same guy who wrote the Gospel of Mark.  

After working closely together for a few years without problems, Paul started to resent Mark. Barnabas wanted to continue working with Mark, but Paul did not. A “sharp disagreement” followed. That’s what the Bible says in Acts 15:39. And that’s how the missionary journeys of Paul and Barnabas came to a close. They got into a fight. 


The whole story proves that these were real men with real problems.  


You’ve probably had similar situations in your life. I know I do. They had traveled together, served together, and preached together for years. Then, out of nowhere, they just part ways.   

Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there either. We don’t know a lot about what exactly happened after that. But, around 15 years later, at the end of his life, Paul writes, “Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.” (2 Timothy 4:11.)  

Paul had put his teachings into practice. Before writing this letter to Timothy, he encouraged the Colossians to “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” (Colossians 3:13.) 

Paul forgave Mark. Mark forgave Paul. Christ was honored with their forgiveness. Paul forgave Barnabas as well. There are a few instances where Paul speaks favorably of Barnabas’s work.  


Imagine what the story would be like if that restoration had never happened.  


If you have been thinking about a friend you haven’t talked to for a long time, and if you need to repair a relationship, forgive them. Jesus did it, Barnabas did it, Paul did it, Mark did it, and you can too.




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