Acts 12:25
And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) When they had fulfilled their ministry.—The same noun is used as that translated “relief” in Acts 11:29. We may, perhaps, assign the vision related in Acts 22:17-21, to this visit; but see Note there.

Took with them John, whose surname was Mark.—The choice is, of course, partly explained by his relationship to Barnabas, but it shows also that he entered heartily into the work of the conversion of the Gentiles; and owing, as he did, his own conversion to Peter, it would naturally be regarded as a proof of that Apostle’s interest in it.

12:20-25 Many heathen princes claimed and received Divine honours, but it was far more horrible impiety in Herod, who knew the word and worship of the living God, to accept such idolatrous honours without rebuking the blasphemy. And such men as Herod, when puffed with pride and vanity, are ripening fast for signal vengeance. God is very jealous for his own honour, and will be glorified upon those whom he is not glorified by. See what vile bodies we carry about with us; they have in them the seeds of their own dissolution, by which they will soon be destroyed, whenever God does but speak the word. We may learn wisdom from the people of Tyre and Sidon, for we have offended the Lord with our sins. We depend on him for life, and breath, and all things; it surely then behoves us to humble ourselves before him, that through the appointed Mediator, who is ever ready to befriend us, we may be reconciled to him, lest wrath come upon us to the utmost.Returned from Jerusalem - They had gone to Jerusalem to carry alms, and they now returned to Antioch, Acts 11:30.

When they had fulfilled their ministry - When they had accomplished the purpose for which they had been sent there; that is, to deposit the alms of the church at Antioch in the hands of the eiders of the churches, Acts 11:30.

John, whose surname was Mark - See the notes on Acts 12:12. From this period the sacred historian records chiefly the labors of Paul. The labors of the other apostles are, after this, seldom referred to in this book, and the attention is fixed almost entirely on the trials and travels of the great apostle of the Gentiles. His important services, his unwearied efforts, his eminent success, and the fact that Luke was his companion, may be the reasons why his labors are made so prominent in the history. Through the previous chapters we have seen the church rise from small beginnings, until it was even now spreading into surrounding regions. We have seen it survive two persecutions, commenced and conducted with all the power and malice of Jewish rulers. We have seen the most zealous of the persecutors converted to the faith which he once destroyed, and the royal persecutor put to death by the divine judgment. And we have thus seen that God was the protector of the church; that no weapon formed against it could prosper; that, according to the promise of the Redeemer, the gates of hell could not prevail against it. In that God and Saviour who then defended the church, we may still confide, and may be assured that he who was then its friend has it still "engraved on the palms of his hands," and designs that it shall extend until it fills the earth with light and salvation.

25. Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem—where, it thus appears, they had remained during all this persecution.

when they had fulfilled their ministry—or service; that mentioned on Ac 11:29, 30.

took with them John … Mark—(See on [1999]Ac 12:12), not to be confounded with the second Evangelist, as is often done. As his uncle was Barnabas, so his spiritual father was Peter (1Pe 5:13).

From Jerusalem; they returned unto Antioch, from whence they were sent, Acts 11:26,30, to carry the benevolence of the church of Antioch to that of Judea.

Their ministry; this was the ministry or service they were appointed to do.

John; of whom before, Acts 12:12. And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem,.... Two of Beza's exemplars, the Complutensian edition and the Syriac version, add, "unto Antioch"; and certain it is, that from thence they were sent, and thither they returned, for we find them there in the beginning of the next chapter:

when they had fulfilled their ministry; which was the carrying the relief, or the money collected by the Christians at Antioch, for the brethren in Judea, on account of the famine that was there:

and took with them John, whose surname was Mark: the son of Mary, at whose house the disciples were met together, and praying; and where Peter first went, after he was delivered from prison, Acts 12:12 him they brought with them from Jerusalem to Antioch, being a kinsman of Barnabas; and a man of promising gifts and usefulness, and judged to be a fit companion with them in their travels, for the spread of the Gospel.

And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 12:25. Ὑπέστρεψαν] they returned, namely, to Antioch, Acts 11:27-30, Acts 13:1. The statement in Acts 12:25 takes up again the thread of the narrative, which had been dropped for a time by the episode (Acts 12:1-24), and leads over to the continuation of the historical course of events in chap, 13. The taking of ὑπέστρεψαν in the sense of the pluperfect (“jam ante Herodis obitum,” etc., Heinrichs, Kuinoel), rests on the erroneous assumption that the collection-journey of this passage coincides with Galatians 2. The course of events, according to the Book of Acts, is as follows:

While (κατ ̓ ἐκεῖνον τὸν καιρόν, Acts 12:1) Barnabas and Saul are sent with the collection to Judaea (Acts 11:30), there occurs in Jerusalem the execution of James and the imprisonment and deliverance of Peter (Acts 12:2-18), and then (Acts 12:19), at Caesarea, the death of Herod (Acts 12:20-23). But Barnabas and Saul return from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 12:25). From this it follows that, according to the Acts, they visited first the other churches of Judaea and came to Jerusalem last; so that the episode, Acts 12:1-23, is to be assigned to that time which Barnabas and Saul on their journey in Judaea spent with the different churches, before they came to Jerusalem, from which, as from the termination of their journey, they returned to Antioch. Perhaps what Barnabas had heard on his journey among the country-churches of Judaea as to the persecution of the Christians by Agrippa, and as to what befell James and Peter, induced him (in regard to Paul, see on Acts 11:30) not to resort to the capital, until he had heard of the departure and perhaps also of the death of the king.

συμπαραλαβ. κ.τ.λ.] from Jerusalem; see Acts 12:12.Acts 12:25. ὑπέστρεψαν ἐξ Ἱ., see critical notes, and Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 63, 64, and note on Acts 22:17, below.—πληρ. τὴν διακ.; if the visit extended over as long a period as Ramsay believes, viz., from the time when the failure of harvest in 46 turned scarcity into famine until the beginning of 47 (u. s., pp. 51, 63), no doubt the delegates could not have simply delivered a sum of money to the elders, but would have administered the relief (not money), and carried a personal message of cheer to the distressed (Ramsay, p. 49 ff., u. s.), and so have “fulfilled” their ministry. But the word διακονία does not of necessity involve this personal and continuous ministration, e.g., cf. Romans 15:31, where St. Paul uses the word of the money collection brought by him to Jerusalem for the poor, a passage in which the Western gloss is δωροφορία, cf. Romans 15:25, 2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:1; 2 Corinthians 9:12-13. Grimm writes that the word is used of those who succour need by either collecting or bestowing benefactions; see further, Expositor, March and July, 1896 (Ramsay), April, 1896 (Sanday), also Hort, Ecclesia, p. 206, and above on Acts 11:29.—Σαῦλος, see critical notes for Western addition.—συμπαραλαβόντες, cf. Acts 15:37-38, of bringing as a companion in N.T., only once elsewhere in same sense, Galatians 2:1. (cf. 3Ma 1:1). This incidental notice of John Mark may well emphasise the fact that he was taken with Paul and Barnabas as a supernumerary, and to mark his secondary character as compared with them. In view of subsequent events, it would be important to make this clear by introducing him in a way which showed that he was not essential to the expedition, Ramsay, St. Paul, pp. 71, 170, 177; cf. Acts 15:37; Acts 15:40.25. And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem] i.e. to their labours among the Gentile converts in Antioch.

when they had fulfilled their ministry [ministration] viz., the giving into the care of the Church the contributions of the disciples in Antioch for the support of their brethren in Judæa during the famine which Agabus had foretold (Acts 11:28).

John, whose surname was Mark] See above on Acts 12:12.Acts 12:25. Ὑπέστρεψαν, returned) to Antioch: ch. Acts 11:30, having been sent thence with relief unto the brethren in Judea.—συμπαραλάβοντες, having taken with them) Jerusalem was a nursery (seed-bed) of workmen.—Ἰωάννην, John) Acts 12:12. He too had both a foreign and a Hebrew name. Comp. ch. Acts 13:1; Acts 13:8-9. This variety of names accords with the beginning of the union of Jews and Gentiles.Verse 25. - Ministration for ministry, A.V.; talking for and took, A.V. The fact here stated of their taking John Mark with them, is very interesting in connection with ver. 12. Whether or no Saul and Barnabas were in the house of Mary at the time of Peter's deliverance from prison, they evidently went there shortly before or shortly after. As regards the sequence of events related in this chapter, it is by no means necessary to suppose that Barnabas and Saul did not leave Jerusalem till after the death of Agrippa. Luke, connecting the death of Agrippa with his murder of James and his intended murder of Peter, as Eusebius and Chrysostom and others rightly say, would naturally follow up the narrative of the persecution by the narrative of the persecutor's awful death; and then go on to relate the return of the two apostles to Antioch in continuation of Acts 11:30. We have no means of deciding whether, in point of fact, they returned before or after Agrippa's death. It seems most probable that they returned before, as, under the circumstances, they would not tarry at Jerusalem longer than was necessary for the fulfillment of their ministration.



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