I read this and thought of how the church can become divided over issues. It was commendable that Paul wanted to go back and visit other believers in every city where he and Barnabas had preached the Word. I guess he wanted to see how they were doing. He had planted the church and now he was interested to see how it was growing.
This is how it should be in the churches today. Pastors or elders or church members should check on the new members or the new church to see how things are progressing. This sounded like a good idea to Barnabas and he determined to take his cousin John Mark with them. However, Paul was equally determined not to take him with them. He hadn’t forgotten what Mark had done. He had left them in Perga to return to Jerusalem (Acts 13:3). We don’t know why he left. Perhaps he wasn’t ready for the hardships, dangers that missionaries and gospel workers face.
The word used for departed here is aphistēmi which means to desert, to fall away, become faithless, to withdraw one’s self from, to fall away. Clearly Paul believed that Mark had deserted them. He had not continued with them in the work he had undertaken to do. Paul didn’t want him to run out on them again if they were to take him with them this time. He didn’t want to get burned a second time. Barnabas, perhaps, wanted to give Mark another chance. Perhaps, blood is thicker than water. They began to argue over this and things got so heated that they had to go their separate ways. Barnabas took Mark with him to Cyprus while Paul took Silas. He and Silas went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
How sad it was that these two men who had served in the ministry together and had shared so many experiences parted ways under such circumstances.