The Children\'s Chapel

John Mark
By Brian Carlisle

Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them but Paul disagreed

Text Version | Afrikaans | Italian

José sat under the tree and pulled his jacket collar a little higher so no one would notice who he was. He didn't want to be seen. He was a nobody, a failure. José felt like he didn't have a friend in the world. And all because of one mistake last week.

boy sitting under a tree

José was the starting forward for his neighborhood soccer team, the Eagles, and the best soccer player that his town had ever produced. Throughout this past season, José had led his team in scoring and blocking shots, and, by using his abilities, he had led his team to the final tournament. The winning team of this tournament would proceed on to the regional and state tournaments. This accomplishment had never before been achieved by a team from his hometown. All his team had to do was win 2 of 3 games against their opponents, the Warriors, and they would proceed on to the regional.

In the first game against the Warriors, José scored 4 goals himself and blocked 5 shots by his opponents. This extraordinary display of talent had earned him the nickname “The Dominator” and the affection of everyone in his town. Today though, José was in hiding. He was hiding from his teammates and everyone who knew him. The reason was because of his terrible play in the final moments of the second game of the tournament.

With the score tied and less than a minute to play, José had moved the ball down the field and was preparing to kick the ball, when the other team's goalie fell. With no one between him and the goal, José had an open and straight shot — the easiest shot that anyone could hope for. José had let out a whoop of joy, then kicked the ball sending it toward the goal. But instead of going in the goal and winning the game, the ball hit the railing and bounced right back at him.

“No!” José screamed. Then without thinking, José, in a moment of anger, turned and kicked the ball with all his might. A gasp went up from the crowd as the ball went sailing back down the field and straight to an opponent, who wasted no time in taking advantage of everyone's shock and scoring the winning point for the Warriors. As the buzzer rang, ending the game, José felt like his life had ended.

kicking a soccer ball “Failure!” his teammate screamed at him.

“Why don't you just join the other team?” the fans yelled.

“How much did they pay you to betray your team?” someone else bellowed from the sidelines.

In shame, José had run from the game and had spent the last week locked up in his house. He didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone. José had even refused a call from William, his team captain and best friend. His team would be better off without him ruining the game.

“Score!” As the announcer shouted, José was snapped back to his present surroundings, the Final Game of the Tournament. “Warriors 4, Eagles 1.”

As José watched his team struggling against their opponents, he wanted so much to run out onto the field and assist them, but he couldn't. José was ashamed. He had let his team down, and because of him, they were having to play this final game. By all indications, they were going to lose this game, too. Again, José was blaming himself. It was his fault that his team had lost last week and was now losing again.

As José watched the game begin again, a story his mother had told him while he was hidden away in his home began to edge back into his mind. The story was about a young man in the Bible by the name of John Mark.

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“Very little is written about John Mark,” José's mother had began, “but what we do know, relates to us a very interesting story.”

Barnabas took John Mark with him In Acts Chapter 15, verses 35-39, Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, and Barnabas had just finished up preaching in the city of Antioch where they had led many to the Lord. After they had surveyed their work, Paul had suggested to Barnabas that they make another round of travel and visit all the cities where they had started churches in order to see how all the brethren were doing. Paul was referring to what is called his first missionary journey where he and Barnabas had traveled and had taken the Gospel of Jesus to many lands.

“The Bible says that Barnabas agreed to the idea of another missionary journey. Both men loved to preach the gospel and Barnabas was eager to go. Barnabas, though, stated that he wanted to take along with them the young man John, whose surname was Mark, or as he was known, John Mark. Paul who was excited about the trip, didn't like the idea about John Mark and protested.”

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This last part of the story had puzzled José. “I thought Paul was a very kind man. Why didn't he want John Mark to go with them?”

“Because on their first missionary journey, John Mark had started out with them but for some reason John Mark had decided to go home and leave Paul and Barnabas,” his mother explained.

“So?” José had shrugged his shoulders. “Everyone makes a mistake.”

“Right, they do,” his mother replied. “But remember, missionary work is not only hard, but also dangerous. Paul felt that John Mark would only cause them more grief on the trip, so Paul refused to allow John Mark to go.”

“What did Barnabas say?” José asked.

Paul took Silas with him “The Bible says that Barnabas determined to take John Mark with them,” his mother replied. “The Bible goes on to say that the contention or argument was so great that Paul and Barnabas split company and went separate ways. Barnabas took John Mark with him, and Paul took Silas with him.”

“What happened to John Mark?” José questioned.

“We don't really know. The Bible follows Paul and Silas, not Barnabas and John Mark,” his mother explained. “But we do know that years later, Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor, and asked him to get John Mark and to bring him to Paul.”

“Did Paul apologize?” José grinned with relief.

“I'm sure he did,” José's mother smiled. “Paul said that John Mark was profitable to his ministry, or in other words, Paul was saying, ‘Bring John Mark. He has proven to be a good worker and I need his assistance and help.’”

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José sat silently for a moment before speaking. “So what does that have to do with me?”

“José.” His mother wrapped her arms around her son and looked lovingly into his eyes. “We all make mistakes. Sometimes we fail ourselves or our teammates, and even sometimes we fail God…but God always forgives and so should we.

“José, you failed your team last week, but you are not a failure. You are human. There is no need for you to hide from yourself, from your friends, or from God. Get back out there and use the abilities that God gave you to bring glory to His name. Had John Mark quit when Paul, the great apostle, felt he was a failure, who knows what would have happened to him. But he didn't quit, even when the one he admired most had no faith in him. And eventually, John Mark proved himself to be valuable to the ministry and even Paul requested his help.”

José looked down at the ground and plucked a few blades of grass from the soil. “What Mom told me is right. I just wish that I could forgive myself. But I guess it's too late for me now.”

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“Score!” the announcer yelled as the crowd cheered for the Warriors.

“Oh, no!” José groaned. “There's no way my team could win now, not with the game already half over and the score 5 to 1.”

“Time!” the Referee called.

“Time has been called by William, team captain of the Eagles!” the announcer called over the speakers.

boy sitting under a tree José looked up and his heart quit beating. Heading right toward him was his team captain and best friend, William. José wanted to run, but he was frozen with fear.

“What are you doing?” William screamed. “We need you out there!”

“I was…” José stammered.

“You deserted us when we needed you the most!” William raged. “You're our best player! We can't win without you out there on the field with us!”

“Right!” José felt his anger begin to boil. “Like you needed me last week when I lost the game for our team by missing that easy shot at the last second! Then because of my temper, I helped the Warriors beat us!”

“So you missed a shot! So you let us down!” William looked down and instantly the truth began to dawn on him. José was not playing because of the way he had been treated.

As everyone on both teams and all the fans looked on, William extended his hand down to his friend. “I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?”

“What?” José was shocked by William's words. “What do you mean?”

“José, you are my friend and my teammate. You made a mistake last week, but that doesn't make you a rotten player or my enemy.” William felt the heat of the tears on his cheeks. “I know that the game is too far gone for our team to win, but would you play with us…as my friend?”

For a few short moments, the world stood still as José looked at William and his tears. José was stunned.

“Well?” William stretched out his hand a little further.

“Let's do it!” José grinned.

As the two boys ran side by side onto the field, José's teammates ran to greet him amidst the boos from the opponents and the mixed emotions of the Eagles' fans.

The second half of the soccer game was breathtaking as the Eagles mounted a team effort and narrowed the score to Warriors 6, Eagles 5, with less than two minutes to go. Then on a fast press down the field, William, to the delight of everyone, scored the tying goal. This sent the game into an overtime period as both teams, tied at 6 goals, fought for the title of division champs and a chance to advance to the regional and state tournaments.

The overtime period was exhausting to players and fans alike as both teams battled desperately to score and to prevent their opponents from scoring. With very little time left in the overtime period, the score remained Warriors 6, Eagles 6. Then it happened….

A deflected ball bounced near José. The crowd began counting down the seconds on the clock. “Ten…Nine….”

José saw the ball coming and glanced toward the goal.


Two Warriors plus the goalie were between José and the goal.


José faked a kick and skidded the ball to his right, but the ball rolled a little too far!

“Ugh!” José grunted as he slid and stretched to his fullest.


“Not for me! Not for my team! But for Your Glory!” José shouted as he awkwardly stretched and kicked the ball with his last remaining ounce of strength.


kicking a soccer ball José couldn't see if the ball went in the goal because he had over stretched and had fallen to the ground. But José didn't need to see the ball. As he lay on his back and looked heavenward, he heard the fans of both teams go wild with shouts of delight.

“Score!” the announcer screamed above the roar of the fans. “Eagles win in extended play over the Warriors, 7 goals to 6!”

So remember, like both José and John Mark learned, even though you make some very serious mistakes, God is willing to take you back into His arms and love you once again.

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1. Why did Paul and Barnabas have an argument?
2. Who did Paul take with him on his next trip?
3. Who did Barnabas take on his next trip?
4. How do we know Paul apologized?
5. Why did Paul contact Timothy?


Even though you make some very serious mistakes, God is willing to take you back into his arms and love you once again.


“…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Revelation 2:7b).


Have you ever been disappointed by someone, maybe a friend, or a sibling or even a parent? God wants you to be forgiving, but why should you give those who disappointed or failed you another chance? Think of John Mark. Why did Paul change his mind about John Mark?

Have you ever disappointed or failed God, or people you care about? Did you ask for forgiveness and, where possible, try to make up for it in any way?

[After discussion:] Sometimes good people make mistakes. They can disappoint and fail you, but you must be willing to forgive them and give them another chance. When bad people hurt you, you must forgive them. They may threaten to hurt you more if you tell anybody but don’t listen to them. It’s best to tell a grownup about it and avoid them if they don’t change their ways.

If you’ve made a mistake and disappointed God or someone else, ask for forgiveness with a sincere heart. Afterwards, ask God to help you think of ways you can make up for your mistake, if possible. Then you’ll prove to be a faithful friend, worthy of another chance and, in this way, your life will bring honor to God.


Dog and boy praying

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me
so much and caring about every part of my life.
Thank You for forgiving me when I make mistakes.
Help me to be kind and remember to forgive
others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Acts 15:35-41; 2 Timothy 4:11

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Jigsaw Puzzle (online)
Bible Verse Cut and Scramble Page 1 (online)
Bible Verse Cut and Scramble Page 2 (online)
John Mark Word Search (online)
John Mark Crossword Puzzle (online)
John Mark Maze (online)
Game: To Forgive or Not to Forgive (online)

Best Book of Bible Activities
Bible Puzzles: Word Search
Big Book Of Bible Puzzles
Big Book Of Bible Story Activity Pages V1
Bingo (online)
Children's Activity Books
Children's Puzzles
Christian and educational toys
Crossword Books
Encyclopedia Of Bible Games For Children's Ministry
Jumbo Bible Activity Book 4
Memory Verse Games for Kids
Sticker Books
The Humongous Book of Games for Children's Ministry
The Super Sized Book of Bible Puzzles

Something to color

John Mark Coloring Page (online)
Memory Verse Coloring Page (online)

Action Bible Coloring Book
Coloring Through the Bible (online)
Beginner's Bible Super-Duper Mighty Jumbo Coloring Book
Bible Stories Kids Love Coloring Book (ages 2 to 4)
Big Book of Bible Story Coloring Pages for Elementary Kids

God Loves You Coloring Book:
A Read-aloud Coloring Book About God's Plan for Salvation

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, Coloring Book
My Bible Coloring Book
My Gospel Story by Colors--Activity Book
My Jumbo Bible Story Coloring Book
The Super-Sized Book of Bible Coloring & Art
The Super-Sized Book of Bible Verse Coloring Pages
Children's Bible Coloring Books


Make a Bookmark (online)
Paul And Barnabas Disagreement Art and Craft (online)

Bible Crafts
Bible Crafts & More (Ages 3-6)
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Crafting the Word of God (online)

Easy-to-Make Bible Crafts PDF for Kids
& Digital Album Download [PDF Download]

Encyclopedia Of Bible Crafts For Preschoolers
Hot Crafts for Cool Kids pdf download
Maker-ific WOWS! (ages 8-12): 54 Surprising Bible Crafts

More! Bible Crafts on a Shoe String Budget:
Paper Sacks & Cardboard Tubes

(Reproducible: Ages 5-10)

Puppet Crafts For Kids (online)

child reading a book

I Can Be Your Friend
Journeys of Adventure: The Story of Paul
LifePac Bible Grade 5: Missionary Journeys of Paul
Keep On Keeping On: Helping Kids to Never Give Up!
Paul: The Odd Apostle
The Earliest Missionaries (online)

Beginner's Bible
Beginner's Bible for Little Ones
Bible in Pictures For Toddlers
Bible stories
Children's Books
Early Reader's Bible
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs w/2 CD
Pilgrim's Progress Comic
Spanish Children's Books

365 Activities For Kids:
A Bible Story And Activity For Each Day Of The Year

365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories
The Children's Illustrated Bible
The Picture Bible (also in Spanish)
The Preschooler's Bible
Toddler's Bible


I Am a Promise—VeggieTales
I Am a Promise—Gaither (online)
VeggieTales: I Can Be Your Friend (online)
VeggieTales: We Are the Grapes of Wrath (online)

100 Ways To Know God Loves Me & 100 Songs
100 Bible Stories 100 Bible Songs
Action Bible Songs
Bible Songs on CD
Bible Songs on DVD
150 All-Time Favorite Veggietunes
100 Singalong Bible Songs For Kids

Platinum Bible Collection of Classic Christian Songs on DVD
The Bible in a Minute (online)

25 Favorite Sunday School Songs
Children's Music

CDs and Videos

Adventures in Odyssey: Saint Paul: Set Apart by God
Adventures of the Apostle Paul (online)
God Made You Special DVD
God Wants Me To Forgive?
Kids' Bible Lesson on Anger (online)
Superbook: Paul and Barnabas (online)
VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them (online)

All the Shows, Volume 1: 1993-1999
Do You Wonder Why? (online)
God's Story from Creation to Eternity (online)
Read and Share DVD Bible
The Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit
Bible story DVDs
Children's DVDs

Resources for Parents and Teachers

Acts 15 - KJV - Audio Bible - King James Version Dramatized 1611 (online)
A-Mazing Friends Game (online)
Bustin' Out Balloon Game for Scripture Memory (online)
Dispute Over John Mark (online)
Eyewitness Bible Series: Acts Episode 6 John Mark (online)
Grow Together Now, Volume 2: Humility, Kindness, Cooperation
I Know You Class Activity (online)
John Mark: Always Playing Second Fiddle (online)
Paul and Barnabas Have a Fight (online)

Free Bible story images (online)
801 Questions Kids Ask About God
Absentee Postcards
African American Resources
Almost Every Answer for Practically Any Teacher
Bible for Children in 232 languages (online)
Children's Ministry
Bible Memory Match Game
My Jumbo Bible Story Coloring Book
The Jesus Storybook Bible Curriculum Kit
Big Book of Bible Games
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Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul
Children's Ministry Volunteers That Stick
Children's Sermon (online)
Church Supplies
Closing Prayer (online)

FREE materials to Bible schools, Bible colleges, seminaries,
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52 Games That Teach The Bible
Free educational videos (online)
God's Servants Teach Me

God's Wisdom for Little Boys:
Character-Building Fun from Proverbs

Help! I'm a Sunday School Teacher
How To Lead a Child To Christ
King James Version Gift & Award Bibles

Leading Little Ones to God:
A Child's Book of Bible Teachings

Lord Teach Me To Pray For Kids
Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours
Memory Verse Resources
Object Talks
Opening Prayer (online)
Parenting Resources
Pray & Play Bible for Young Children
Puppet Scripts
Review Activities for Bible Lessons (online)
Seven Laws of the Learner
Spanish Resources
Sunday school resources
Sunday School Songs: Lyrics and Tunes (online)
Talking to God
Teachers' Reproducible Classroom Pages
Teaching Children Memory Verses Ages 4-5
Teaching Children To Pray Ages 4-5
Teaching to Change Lives
The Beginner's Bible Curriculum Kit

The Humongous Book of Bible Skits
for Children's Ministry

Vacation Bible School
What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know

Children's resources (online)

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Last updated January 11, 2023

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