A Sharp Disagreement

Read: Acts 15:36-41

And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed. (vv. 39-40)

Do Christians always agree? We may wish that were the case. Especially when churches split or individuals go their separate ways. But as we see in these verses, even esteemed leaders in the church like Paul and Barnabas had differing opinions. It all goes back to the fact that none of us are perfect. We are all sinners, and as much as we believe in unity, as indeed we should, we sometimes have sharp disagreements.

But the wonderful thing about all this is that God can overrule and turn even our worst blunders into something good. For one thing, although Paul and Barnabas were no longer working together, because of their separation, twice as much work for the gospel would henceforth be done. And then, too, John Mark, who had deserted Paul and Barnabas earlier during the first missionary journey, had found in Barnabas, “the son of encouragement,” a wonderful advocate and co-worker—one who still trusted him enough to give him a second chance.

Although it may not have been a pleasant experience to go through, still it is a reminder that, as Paul would later write to the Romans, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (8:28). —John Koedyker

As you pray, praise God who works all things together for our good.

About the Author

John Koedyker
John Koedyker

Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.