Text: Mark 1
"Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing." Acts 15:36
SPECULATIVE REASONS WHY MARK ABRUPTLY QUIT
Luke gave no reasons whatsoever as to why Mark abruptly left Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Many are the speculations as to why he decided to return to Jerusalem. Let us consider just five possible speculative reasons.
1. The issue of Paul’s leadership
Mark was related to Barnabas. When the team left Antioch, Barnabas was obviously the leader. However, when the team was in the Mission field, Paul swept into a strong leadership role. It is suggested that Mark did not like this turnaround of events.
2. The stress of Missions work
It has also been suggested that this first missionary trip might have proved too rigorous for him. He was relatively younger than Paul and Barnabas and thus lacked the experience and maturity needed to do well in the Mission field. There was extensive traveling from place to place, and the trip might have proved too much for him. His strength and stamina may have not been up to par, and thus he fizzled out.
3. The problem of fear
The mission field posed many dangers. Fear could have arisen from having to travel to unfamiliar places. Fear could also have crept in because there was a direct confrontation of a servant of Satan, one whom Paul called, “son of the devil” (Acts 13:10). That could have been a frightening experience.
4. The problem of being ill-prepared
Mark went as “assistant” to Paul and Barnabas. That would mean that he would have to keep up with the two more seasoned servants of God. Mark may not have been able to live up to expectations. His comfortable background may not have readied him for the challenges in the mission field.
5. Sheer irresponsibility
Some have even suggested that Mark was very irresponsible to have left the Missions ministry so abruptly. He did not return to Antioch, but to Jerusalem instead. No reason was ever given as to why he left.
AN UNRESOLVED ISSUE
The issue of Mark leaving the mission remained an unresolved issue between Paul and Barnabas. In time, it became a stumbling block and the two good friends fell out over Mark and his abrupt departure at Perga.
The strong partnership between Paul and Barnabas was severed. Barnabas took Mark with him on his next Missions trip. Paul chose Silas, a prophet from Jerusalem to go with him on his second missionary journey (Cf. Acts 15:37-40)