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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Hidden Heroes: John Mark

by David Chadwick


John Mark is most likely the young boy in the Garden of Gethsemane in Mark 14:51-52 who followed Jesus “with nothing but a linen cloth about his body” and ended up being seized. He was able to escape and run away.


We see in the book of Acts that Jesus and his disciples commonly frequented what they call the upper room. It was probably a wealthy residence in Jerusalem. That residence could have belonged to John Mark’s mother and father. John Mark probably followed Jesus and his disciples up to the Garden of Gethsemane and probably overheard Jesus’s conversations with the Father in heaven plus his interactions with sleepy Peter, James, and John.


John Mark is the one Paul took with him and Barnabas on his first missionary journey to the Galatian region. He is also the one who failed Paul. Maybe because of fear? Maybe he was homesick? We don’t know. But he left Paul and Barnabas and went home.


So, why is he someone I see as a hidden hero, you might be wondering? I can understand why you would ask. From what I have shared with you so far, he seems like anything but a hero.


Yet in spite of some of his flustered decision-making and quirky personality traits along the way, John Mark later returned to have a courageous faith. He ended up spending a great deal of time with Peter, perhaps even traveling with him, and then penned Peter’s words to give us the gospel of Mark.


Finally, we see John Mark display a tremendous amount of humility toward the end of Paul’s life. Paul asked Timothy to bring John Mark to him as he neared his death “because he is helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). There was undoubtedly reconciliation between John Mark and Paul.


John Mark is a hero to me because though he once failed, he got back up and kept moving toward Jesus and his ministry call. Plus, he was not so prideful that he couldn’t reconcile with Paul.


He is a model of Christlike living both today and forever.

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