Mark is often called Mark, sometimes he is called John Mark, a few times he is called Marcus, and a couple of times he is called John.  Let us look at a few instances where he is spoken of so we can get an idea of who he is.

  • Colossians 4:10, “Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;).”
  • Acts 12:12, “And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” 

These two verses show us that Mark was the son of Mary and a nephew of Barnabas.  Barnabas was a travelling companion of Paul, the apostle, in the early days of his ministry.

  • Acts 11:29-30, “Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.”
  • Acts 12:25, “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.” 

The Lord’s disciples had been led to send funds to the believers in Judaea because of a famine there.  They chose Barnabas and Saul (who would later be named Paul) to carry this ministry to Judaea.  After fulfilling this ministry, they determined to travel again and took Mark with them. 

  • Acts 13:13, “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”
  • Acts 15:36-39, “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.” 

Mark was a young man at this time.  Discouraged, perhaps, by the difficulties and dangers of this work, he left the group and returned to Jerusalem.  Later, when Paul and Barnabas determined to revisit some of the cities where they had ministered God’s Word, a sharp contention arose between Barnabas and Paul.  This contention was so great that it caused Paul and Barnabas to part ways. 

We might say that Mark’s labors for the Lord began with failure.  However, this is not the end of Mark’s history.  We read in 1 Peter 5:13, “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.”  Peter, the apostle, had taken on Mark as a protégé and mentored him in the ways and truths of the Lord.  Their relationship was so strong that Peter referred to him as “my son.” 

In 2 Timothy, Paul’s last letter, he remarked in chapter 4:11, “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.”  Obviously, Timothy and Mark were in the same area at this time and Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark to him because “he is profitable to me for the ministry.”  Mark had been restored to the Lord and Paul realized his value as a true brother in Christ.  How blessed it is to see these two men serving together again although Mark had once deserted Paul. 

There is no evidence that Mark ever met the Lord Jesus while He was on the earth.  Of course, neither did Luke or Paul meet the Lord while He was on the earth.  Mark was not one of the twelve apostles, yet the Lord used him to write the Gospel that bears his name. 

In the account in Mark’s Gospel where men came to take the Lord Jesus to be tried before the chief priests, we read in Mark 14:51-52, “And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”  Some have speculated this was Mark, however I just don’t see enough evidence to make that assumption. 

Mark is such a good example to us that although we might have failed the Lord, forgiveness and restoration is offered to us.  As the Lord leads, He will use us mightily if we continue in a path of love and obedience to Him.  (CC)  (530.4)