For anyone who is interested...
Questions to Ponder
- What do we know about Paul and Barnabas before the events described in this story? How would you imagine their personalities?
- We are told that the two men ‘disagreed sharply’ over the reinstatement of John Mark and parted company. Do you think one of them was ‘right’ in his view and why is that? What do you think you might have said?
- John Mark clearly messed up quite badly during his travels with Barnabas and Paul. How do you think he might have felt about the possibility of another chance? How do you feel when you mess up? Can you think of times you have been given, or have been denied, second chances? How has that felt?
- Silas is invited by Paul to go with him on his next journey. What thoughts do you think he might have had as they set off? How might you have felt knowing that you are replacing someone who seems to have messed up? How might it feel to follow someone who was amazingly popular and successful?
- Both Paul and Barnabas are ‘big’ characters in the story of the early church. Sometimes when prominent people in Christian life fall out, or are deemed to fail or offend, the media and the church can be unkind or even ruthless (e.g. Steve Chalke, Vicky Beeching, recent events at Willow Creek). What insights might we find from this story to help us (locally and as the worldwide Church) to respond more kindly?
- Is there someone in this story with whom you identify? Why is that? What would you, as that person, like to say to the other characters?
- After Paul and Barnabas went their separate ways, each taking a companion with him, far from destroying the Church, it continued to grow. Pauls’ writings suggest that, as a minimum, he respected Barnabas and John Mark, and may well have been reconciled with them. What thoughts or questions does this raise for you?