Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. - 2 Timothy 4:11
No one likes stories where people no longer trust each other. Weddings are happy occasions—and divorces are sad. Births are filled with joy—but that joy turns into sadness when a child becomes a prodigal, estranged from the family. But when divorced couples become reunited, or when a prodigal returns, there is a double joy. There is joy from people being united and double joy because they were formerly estranged.
Our God is a God of double joy. He is the One who reconciles all things. Man brought sin and sorrow—but Christ brought righteousness and life. Man’s sin led to broken relationships. The grace of Christ results in the reconciliation of all things.
In the verse above, we see an example of double joy. In Acts 13 we read about Mark being chosen by Paul and Barnabas for their missionary team. Later Mark abandons the team. When Paul and Barnabas begin to plan for their next missionary trip, Barnabas wants Mark to come but Paul disagrees. This leads to Paul and Barnabas going their separate ways. At the end of Acts 15, you would think that Mark was the last person whom Paul would choose for his team.
But lo and behold—this is exactly what happens at the end of Paul’s life. At the moment when Paul was the most lonely, when he had so many people who had abandoned him, Mark is the one Paul chooses to be with him.
How can this be explained? What happened that led Paul to say that Mark was “useful” to him? We do not know the answer. But we do know this: God did a work of reconciliation. And with all the miracles that Paul saw, this was arguably the greatest miracle of all.
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