Disagreement Between Paul and Barnabas
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Acts 15: 36-41
When disagreement and separation are inevitable…
This remains a mystery in the Bible. The mystery is not that Paul and Barnabas disagreed but that neither of them was willing to yield. Why did they feel so strongly about their views? I don’t know. Should they maintain unity and compromise? I suppose that’s what we would want to see. I don’t have better answers than you all can come up with. One thing I know for sure is that God uses disagreements, too. People who are right in the middle of God’s will doing God’s work can differ in certain aspects. We don’t necessarily have to assume right or wrong on either side or to determine who is better aligned with God. (The Bible didn’t do it, nor should we.) Again, who are we to judge, whether Paul or Barnabas. Leave that to God, and we continue to trust that God’s work will continue.
……Someone still believes in you.
When we read this passage, we often focus on Paul and Barnabas. But how about Mark? He was the center of conflict, which caused the separation of the two church leaders. I would feel so bad and probably will quit the ministry because of the previous mistake and the consequence it led to. However, the Barnabas who first received Paul in Jerusalem when no one else would was the same Barnabas here standing by Mark’s side. He still believes in Mark and is determined to lift him up. I’m thankful for Barnabas in my life. I would not be writing this if it weren’t for them. We all need a “Barnabas” in our lives who would stand by us no matter what. And, would you want to be the “Barnabas” for others?
Dear Jesus, please give us the wisdom to deal with disagreements and know that you are still in control. Thank you for putting “Barnabas” to walk by our side. Amen