Acts is the history of the development of the first churches and the spread of Christianity. For about the first decade after the death of Jesus, Christianity existed almost exclusively among the Jews. The first part of Acts portrays the meaning of Christianity, how it was shared, and how it was lived out in a closed community of Jews whose common culture was based on the Old Testament.
After about the first decade, Christianity started growing in other people groups and cultures having beliefs and understandings quite different from the Jews. Much of Acts deals with keeping a consistent and complete Gospel message, how it is shared, and how it is lived out in different people groups and cultures. The lessons learned from Acts are applicable to modern Christians and churches, and are also essential when trying to understand Paul’s letters (which comprise much of the New Testament).
A purpose of the Acts Series is to tell some of the information of the book of Acts from different vantage points. Luke said that he made a careful investigation of the facts before writing Luke and Acts. His three primary sources of information probably were: his own experiences, written sources, and talking to people who were personally involved. Acts Series illustrates the stories that he might have heard from a dozen of the characters featured in his book of Acts.
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The Scriptures give us only short, direct references about John Mark, but it is possible to infer many things about him that are likely to be representative of his life. Part of the inferences come from knowing that Jerusalem was a small city where the Christians knew each other and often interacted.
Acts 12:12-13 says that after Peter was released from jail, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying. When Peter knocked at the door, a servant answered and recognized Peter’s voice. From just this short passage, we can infer from the very big house and servants that John Mark’s mother was wealthy and that, since her house was well-known to the Christians as a central gathering place, their family had likely been Christians for a long time. If the family was wealthy, John Mark was likely well-educated and knew many of the other wealthy people in Jerusalem, especially the Jewish leaders.
The next passage illustrates the importance of searching all the Scriptures about a topic instead of just the ones currently in front of you. Colossians 4:10 says that Mark is a cousin (or relative) of Barnabas, and in that same verse, Paul tells the Colossians to welcome Mark if he comes to them. Paul wrote this passage many years after the First Missionary Journey, so you can infer from it that Mark somehow ended up in Paul’s good graces. We are not sure how that happened, but it is fun to speculate that John Mark’s training under Barnabas had a big influence.
John Mark later became known as Mark, and he is typically credited with writing the New Testament book of Mark. He was not an original apostle.
Luke – Troy Powell
Peter – Francis Fuselier
Stephen – Jonny Gallegos
Philip – David Smith
Barnabas – Bob Hess
John Mark – Matthew Oakley
Holy Spirit – Garrett Schenck
Paul – Brian Shoop
James – Andy Axewell
Silas – Tony Schneider
Timothy – Paul Christian
Tabitha – Allyn Carrell
Lydia – Gayla Gower
Priscilla – La’Netia D. Taylor
Theophilus – Michael Page