The mission began under the encouraging leadership of Barnabas but soon shifted to the more aggressive leadership of Paul. Mark didn’t like the change and complained, “This isn’t what I signed up for.” But they were stuck on the island of Cyprus – no way to get home until the boat sailed back to the mainland. Sure enough, as soon as the boat docked in Pamphylia, Mark hoofed it home, not to the Antioch church, but to Jerusalem. Home to his Mom.
Mark is one of the few guys who still had a home in Jerusalem. His mother hadn’t sold their house during the time when “any who owned land or building sold them and put the money at the apostles feet.” They kept their place as a gathering for the disciples in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, after months of preaching, the apostles Paul and Barnabas arrived back in Antioch, called the church together and reported all that God had done. That’s when the big question arose over circumcision. The Antioch leaders asked Paul and Barnabas to take the matter to Jerusalem for an official decision from headquarters. Mark, still hanging at home, heard the apostles were in Jerusalem and snuck into the back of the meeting. Paul and Barnabas told of the amazing things that God was doing among the Gentiles and the resulting decision was that circumcision is not necessary for salvation.
The Jerusalem meeting also inspired some new missionaries. Silas and Justus joined Paul and Barnabas as they travelled back to Antioch. It looks like Mark went too.
Barnabas took Mark and sailed back to the island of Cyprus, maybe so Mark could face his demons, or maybe so he couldn’t run home again. We know Barnabas succeeded in training Mark because Paul eventually asked for Mark to join him in the ministry. Mark turned out all right.
So after the split, Paul chose to take Silas, and some others went too. On every trip there are some chosen and some who just go. The chosen ones are usually named at the beginning and the others are mentioned as the story unfolds.
Besides being ‘chosen’ or a ‘tag along’, there is one more way to join the team – be someone an apostle goes looking for. Like back when Barnabas had gone looking for Paul, now Paul is going to find Timothy, because he had heard of the kid’s good reputation.
Paul, carrying the new Abolition of Circumcision letter under his arm, found Timothy and invited him to join the team – and then circumcised him.
Are you a tag along or are you someone an apostle is looking for? Either way your future is bright – if you are willing to follow and never look back.