Mark’s real name was John. Mark was a nickname, and it apparently wasn’t very complimentary.
Tradition holds that this passage refers to Mark:
Mark 14:51-52 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
He was a cousin of Barnabas and started on Paul’s first missionary journey. Then things went badly.
Acts 15:36-40 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted themin Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.
At this point Paul had no use for Mark. Yet see what happens years later as noted by Paul:
Colossians 4:10-11 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. . . . These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.
2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.
Philemon 23-24 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
Mark was also a traveling companion of Peter, who lovingly referred to Mark as “my son.” Mark became a scribe and documented Peter’s sermons, which became the Gospel of Mark.
What a remarkable turnaround! Mark goes from fleeing Jesus naked and being considered a deserter to being a trusted companion of Peter and Paul and the writer of one of the Gospels! God can do amazing things in your life regardless of what failures you have had to date.
Filed under: Mark