Peter’s readers would have included among them those who had failed God to one degree or another. Such would derive great comfort from the next person mentioned by Peter. Mark had failed on a previous occasion when he had abandoned Paul and Barnabas and returned home. He then became the initial reason for a dispute between those two devoted servants of Christ that became so intense they had to separate.
Mark had unhappy memories caused by his lack of dedication, yet here he now is, restored to apostolic favour (Paul, too, had changed his mind about Mark and later regarded him with great favour – 2 Timothy 4:11). Indeed it is generally recognised that Mark’s Gospel was written with guidance or input from Peter. So whenever believers heard mention of Mark, they would recall the restoring grace of God, that he pardons those who fail him. Indeed they would see that restoring work in Peter himself as well as in Mark.
We should note how affectionately Peter describes Mark. The apostle regards him as his son, in the same way as Paul regarded Timothy. This indicates that Mark had learned an important attitude, that of submission, because sons always submitted to their fathers at that time in history. So Mark becomes an example of the spiritual discipline that Peter had required of his readers earlier in the chapter – the discipline of mutual submission.
On Peter’s part, there was both affirmation and affection. His affirmation as an apostle was important in the sense that it was a public declaration that Mark was now in good standing. Of course, Peter’s affirmation could only be given because Mark was fulfilling the tasks required of him. It would not have been right for Peter to affirm Mark if he was still doing his own thing. It is also clear that affection had developed between Peter and Mark as they served the Lord together.
How do we react to Christians who have failed in the past?