Remember: we will recap Paul and Barnabas in our Zoom / Facebook live class Wednesday night at 7pm.
After working through the doctrinal controversy in Acts 15 together, Paul and Barnabas decide to start another trip preaching the gospel. In what is a surprising reminder of their human weakness, Acts tells us a “contention so sharp” (15:39) arose between Paul and Barnabas that they decided to part ways.
In these 3 lessons we have seen all that Barnabas did for Paul and all that they had been through together, which to me, makes this division especially sad. But perhaps it also teaches us something about friendship and how even the apostles were not perfect people.
The disagreement was over Paul’s reluctance to bring Barnabas’ cousin along on the journey: “Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work” (Acts 15:37-38).
In light of that it may be important to know that years later Paul spoke favorably about John Mark. See Colossians 4:2.
Perhaps the lesson here is that friendship isn’t easy and that even mature Christians have conflicts in their relationships.
On the positive side, it has sometimes been observed that because of this, instead of just one preaching trip, you now have to. Maybe it was a blessing in some ways.