(22-35) The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers
It was unreasonable and unBiblical for a certain group of Jewish believers to want to hold Gentile believers to a complex set of Jewish rules and rituals. Christianity isn’t about following laws; it’s about following the One Who loved us enough to die for us. When we decide to believe in Jesus, He doesn’t lay a boat load of rules and regulations on us. Instead, He sets us free from all legalism. We are no longer dependent on moral law, but on our personal faith in Christ. Religion wearies a soul and provides no rest. Christ isn’t about that. He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
When Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas told the Gentile believers that is was not necessary for them to bear a great burden, they rejoiced and were encouraged in their faith in Christ.
(36-41) Paul and Barnabas Separate
John Mark was an early believer who wrote the Gospel of Mark. He went with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary trip, but later deserted them and left the work. For this reason, Paul did not want to bring John Mark with them again. Barnabas, on the other hand, wanted to overlook his failure and give him another chance. It seems that Barnabas’ decision to show grace to John Mark paid off, because several years later he became a faithful worker and Paul has good things to say about him. In Philemon 1:24, Paul calls John Mark a “fellow worker,” and in 2 Timothy 4:11, an imprisoned Paul tells Timothy to “Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.”
The spread of the Gospel and the work of God did not stop because Paul and Barnabas had a sharp disagreement over John Mark. They simply went their separate ways and continued to travel, preach, and strengthen the churches. As believers, our discord or differences of opinion about people or issues, should never be reason for others not to hear the Gospel.
Favorite verse: (31) And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.