“Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark” (Acts 12:25).

He was the only U.S. president elected to serve two non-consecutive terms. As the first Democrat elected after the Civil War, Grover Cleveland was widely popular, even winning Republican votes. But his hardline stance against government assistance quickly made him unpopular. He denied pensions for veterans, forced the railroads to hand over 81 million acres of land they were not using, and vetoed a bill that would have distributed seed grain to drought-stricken farmers.

Cleveland didn’t care. He was proudly idealistic and, in 1888, lost his re- election bid to Benjamin Harrison. So, he spent his next four years working in a law firm. But Harrison’s administration was corrupt and soon spent the budget surplus built up by Cleveland. Suddenly, Cleveland’s reputation for cutting spending looked very appealing. In 1892, Cleveland was nominated by the Democratic Party and eventually won the presidency. It was quite a comeback for one who was formerly so unpopular.

John Mark made somewhat of a comeback. When the writer of the Gospel that bears his name went with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, Mark bailed out in Perga and went back home. It created a major rift between Paul and Barnabas when it came time to choose companions for their second missionary journey. Paul put his foot down and flat-out refused to take Mark. Barnabas wouldn’t budge either, so the men went their separate ways.

About 10 years later, Mark shows up again in Scripture. Paul then spoke favorably of him and told the Colossian church to “welcome him” (Colossians 4:10). To Philemon he referred to Mark as one of “my fellow laborers” (Philemon 1:24). And when Paul was imprisoned in Rome, he told Timothy, “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11).

For whatever reason, Paul had at one time looked mistrustfully at Mark. But later this younger assistant to the great apostle eventually proved him- self a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

Lord, when I fall, I will reach out by faith and take Your hand to lift me up again.

For Further Study: Acts 13:5; 15:37–41; Proverbs 24:16; 1 Peter 5:13

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