The Comeback of John-Mark

A person who keeps resurfacing in the Bible is a man with two names.  Sometimes he is Mark and sometimes he is John.  For clarity, Luke often refers to him as “John, also called Mark” John-Mark for short.

John-Mark’s story begins in Acts.  When Peter is miraculously released from prison he heads to the home of John-Mark’s mom, Mary.  They are praying for Peter at that time; John-Mark is likely a part of that prayer meeting.

Later, Barnabas (John-Mark’s cousin) and Paul take him on a missionary journey, but John-Mark bales on them early on and returns home, to Jerusalem. 

Later, Barnabas wants to give his cousin a second chance, but Paul adamantly disagrees and the two-part company over John-Mark’s failure.

However, the story doesn’t end there.  John-Mark makes a comeback and wins Paul over.  In Paul’s various letters, he affirms their relationship, calls John-Mark a coworker, and asks the church to accept and welcome him.  John-Mark is also affirmed by Peter.

John Mark rushed into ministry before he was ready — he didn’t “count the cost” — and did not prove to be faithful.  Despite his poor start, he turned things around and finished well, helping both Paul and Peter. 

He is likely the author of the gospel of Mark.

[Acts 12:12, 25, Acts 13:5, 13, Acts 15:37-40, 2 Timothy 4:11, Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:10, 1 Peter 5:13, and Luke 14:28]

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at