Aug 25, 2019
Scripture Reading: Colossians 4:10,14
When we compare the 'greetings' section of Colossians with some other passages in the New Testament, a marked contrast comes to the surface. Two of the men from whom Paul sends greetings to the church in Colossae are Mark (Col 4:10) and Demas (Col 4:14). Their individual stories are a study in contrast. One story is a sober warning and one story is a beacon of hope.
Mark (also called John - Acts 12:25) started out with Paul and Barnabas on Paul's first missionary journey, but soon abruptly left the group and went home (Acts 13:13). When a second missionary trip was being discussed Paul refused to allow John Mark to join them (Acts 15:38,39). As a result of a marked disagreement, Barnabas also did not go on the trip, but took Mark with him to Cyprus.
With this background, it is significant that during Paul's first imprisonment, Mark is with him and during Paul's second, and final, imprisonment Paul asks Timothy to bring Mark to see Paul because "he is very useful to me for ministry" (2 Tim 4:11).
Demas is also with Paul during his first imprisonment and Paul sends greetings from Demas to the Colossians (Col 4:14). In his letter to Philemon, Paul describes Demas as "my fellow worker" (Phlm 24). But during Paul's second imprisonment, some 6 years later, Paul writes "Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica" (2 Tim 4:10).
The story of Demas is a warning to us to that past service in Christ's name does not insure future usefulness in His kingdom. Oh, how we must guard our hearts. The story of Mark holds out hope that past failures do not exclude the prospect of change and future usefulness in Christ's kingdom.