Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This message takes a look at all that happened as a result of Paul parting ways with Barnabas and John Mark

How many of you have seen Star Wars? No, not the last one. I mean the first one “A New Hope”, not that we called it “A New Hope” we just called it Star Wars.

And if you are interested it was released 40 years ago this weekend, May 25th 1977. I don’t know where I was forty years ago last weekend or 40 years ago next weekend. But I do know where I was forty years ago this weekend. I was watching Star Wars a New Hope for the first of many times.

And Star Wars is rife with Minions. From those everybody loved, like C3PO and R2-D2 to those everybody hated, like the storm troopers and Jar Jar Binks.

For the most part we think of minions as loyal to a fault, that’s all part of being a minion. But sometimes even minions come to a parting of ways. For example. (Video Clip of R2D2 and C3PO)

That’s right, sometimes Minions just walk away, but that doesn’t always spell the end of the journey. In the case of C3PO it didn’t, they still had to make another dozen movies.

This is week four of our “Minions: Playing Second fiddle for God” series. And we have discovered the importance of those who are willing to play second fiddle. Remember it was Leonard Bernstein, who when asked what was the most difficult instrument to play, replied without hesitation: “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm – that’s a problem; and if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony."

In the scripture we read this morning we see a parting of Minions.

Let’s go back to the story, this is the beginning of Paul’s second journey from Jerusalem through Asia to Europe. And he is pulling his team together and casting the vision for the trip and we pick up the story in Acts 15:37-39 Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work. Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.

Like in the Star Wars clip this parting was not a happy event, the bible says that their disagreement was so sharp that they separated, and that seemed to signal the end of their relationship.

But just like in Star Wars this wasn’t the end of the story.

Later, when Paul was writing his letter to Philemon he would refer to Mark as his co-worker and in his letter to Timothy we read 2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry.

Interesting. So how do we get from A. to B.? From the spot where Paul basically fired John Mark to the place where he refers to him as his co-worker and even asks for Mark’s assistance?

The answer is found in another minion, Barnabas. And we going to dig a little deeper into that in just a few minutes.

We are told that John Mark or Mark as we often refer to him was Barnabas’ cousin, but we don’t know a whole lot more than that about Mark.

And we discover in Acts chapter 12 that Mark’s mother’s name was Mary and that the early church gathered in her home. From that we’ve had speculation that it was her home that Jesus and the 12 met in for the Last Supper and that was where Jesus appeared to the apostles after the resurrection, but it’s just speculation.

Early Church tradition has ascribed the second Gospel to Mark, but the author never identifies himself.

And so, on that day, in Antioch, when Paul threw a hissy fit and fired Mark and alienated Barnabas, there was the potential for everything to get derailed.

And there was the potential for Mark to have gone home pouting and saying “I’m done.” For Barnabas to have given up on Paul and the church because his feelings got hurt. And for Paul to have said “I’m not going to have anything else to do with those losers.”

And maybe we wouldn’t have blamed them. But if that is what happened then Christianity today would look very different than it does.

Back in January I preached a series based on the fact that this year marks the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

And from our western view we see two branches of Christianity, the Catholic Church and the Protestant church. And we think that before the reformation there was only the Catholic church.

But 501 years ago, there wasn’t just one church there were basically three churches.

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