Mark and Barnabas

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Puritan Board Freshman
A couple of questions I was thinking about.

1) Is Mark Peter's son?
2) Are Mark and Barnabas former priests?

For the first question, things I was considering:

1 Peter 5:12 Through Silvanus, whom I know to be a faithful brother, I have written to you briefly, in order to encourage you and testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 5:13 The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does Mark, my son. 5:14 Greet one another with a loving kiss. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.

First I think it's fair to say that Peter was indeed married:

Matt 8:14 Now when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying down, sick with a fever.

1 Cor 9:5 Do we not have the right to the company of a believing wife, like the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?

And we can find that Mark was the son of a Mary:

Acts 12:12 When Peter realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying.

I don't think that's quite enough to say that Peter was married to this Mary and Mark was their son. It could be that Mark was just a student or close follower of Peter. What do you think?

For the second question, I was considering that Mark was the cousin of Barnabas (and they are often mentioned as traveling together):

Col 4:10 Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions; if he comes to you, welcome him).

And Barnabas was a Levite:

Acts 4:36 So Joseph, a Levite who was a native of Cyprus, called by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”),

It's easy to locate Barnabas in Jerusalem from very early on in the church. He was sent from there to Antioch:

Acts 9:26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple. 9:27 But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

Acts11:19 Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that took place over Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, speaking the message to no one but Jews. 11:20 But there were some men from Cyprus and Cyrene among them who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks too, proclaiming the good news of the Lord Jesus. 11:21 The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 11:22 A report about them came to the attention of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

Barnabas also takes the side of Peter, initially at least, in the circumcision debate, and that Paul would mention that "even Barnabas" was led astray would indicate that Barnabas pulled a lot of weight in the church and was reknown in Galatia even though it appears that he split up with Paul before ever going to Galatia:

Gal 2:13 And the rest of the Jews also joined with him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray with them by their hypocrisy.

I kind of think Barnabas was probably converted in one of the early groups listed in Acts:

Acts 2:41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.

The apostles were preaching and working miracles in the temple up until Stephen was killed:

Acts 4:1 While Peter and John were speaking to the people, the priests and the commander of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 4:2 angry because they were teaching the people and announcing in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. 4:3 So they seized them and put them in jail until the next day (for it was already evening). 4:4 But many of those who had listened to the message believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

5:12 Now many miraculous signs and wonders came about among the people through the hands of the apostles. By common consent they were all meeting together in Solomon’s Portico. 5:13 None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high honor. 5:14 More and more believers in the Lord were added to their number, crowds of both men and women.

Acts 6:7 The word of God continued to spread, the number of disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.

Barnabas was obviously an influental member in the early Church. He often accompanies Paul. Paul respects his opinion enough to point out that "even Barnabas was led astray" by the circumcision group, which would also indicate Barnabas is a stickler for the Law. Barnabas is the one that brings Paul to Jerusalem. Barnabas is sent to Antioch upon the success of the gospel there. Barnabas is listed among the prophets and teachers in the early church in Antioch (13:1).

I think it's fair to say that Barnabas was probably converted in one of the early groups of converts while the Apostles were preaching in the Temple. Being a Levite in and around the temple would also seem to increase the probability of Barnabas being a priest, and Luke does indeed record a number of priests converting. This would also be a good explination as to why Barnabas was highly regarded by the early church. Of course, it's also possible that he was part of the nebulous 70 in Luke 10 or one of the nebulous 500 that saw the risen Lord, though I don't think there is any hard indication of Barnabas being in either of these. Or maybe he was a regular Joe that just heard one day in the temple and believed.

Mark is a little more difficult. Acts 12 locates his family in either Jerusalem or Antioch depending on which variant you accept in vs 25. If he's in Jerusalem instead of Antioch, that would seem to increase the probability of his being an active priest. Being the cousin of Barnabas would seem to make it very likely that he was a Levite also. Mark is often traveling around with Barnabas. It seems as if Mark is the physical son of Peter, then he probably isn't an active priest since Peter was a fisher, not a priest himself. But Mark could just be a student or close follower of Peter and Peter calls him his "son" in that sense just as Timothy is called Paul's "son" (2 Tim 2:1) and Rufus his "brother" (Rom 16:13).

I think it's probable that Barnabas was a priest and either Barnabas was instrumental in the conversion of Mark, that Mark was instrumental in the conversion of Barnabas, or that Peter (and/or the other apostles) influenced the both of them, in one of the early groups of converts in Acts.

I still wonder if Mark was a former priest? Do you think Barnabas was a former priest? Or maybe something else? Maybe Mark and/or Barnabas were part of the 70 in Luke 10 and/or part of the 500 that witnessed the risen Lord? Or maybe I'm saying too much with too little?

What do you think?
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