In two previous blog posts, I wrote about John Mark. I admire this disciple of Christ, not only because of his achievements in ministry but his apparent growth and what he overcame.
Consider the drama involved in the making of John Mark as a disciple. The front stage of his ministry is introduced in Act I where he abandoned Paul and Barnabas while on mission in Pamphylia (Acts 13: 13-14). In the subsequent acts, we witness a different John Mark. In Act II, he went on mission with Barnabas to Cyprus (Acts 15: 37-39). In Act III, Paul acknowledged John Mark as a faithful co-worker (Colossians 4:10, II Timothy 4:11, Philemon 24), and in Act IV, this disciple wrote the Gospel of Mark.
What happened between Act I and Acts II, III, and IV? Obviously, John Mark matured into an effective disciple. What arouses my curiosity is the back stage making of this disciple—the unknown, unobserved, and unrecorded events involved in his maturation and development. We do not know what took place in this back stage drama. We do not know about the personal challenges he faced. We do not know how he was stretched between the opening and closing acts. We only know that he grew in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
John Mark’s maturation could have been painful, entailed a shift in his personal priorities, required greater accountability, caused a setting aside of unnecessary weights, and demanded better personal discipline. Are these challenges familiar? And how do disciple makers minister to maturing disciples through these challenges—not necessarily the ones on the front stage?
The untold drama in John Mark’s life lies in the backstage of his life. I suggest that this is where the real making of disciples takes place.