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Discuss discipleship and its many meanings.

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Discipleship Introduction At the time of Jesus it was customary for Jewish leaders to have followers, these followers were also known as disciples. The word disciple means 'learner'. It comes from a Latin word 'disciplus'. Nowadays people will know a disciple as a 'follower of Jesus'. Jesus' disciples were different from the others because it was Jesus who chose them himself. He chose twelve special disciples also known as 'apostles', which means 'messenger'. The reason for him only choosing twelve is to represent the twelve different tribes of Israel. This was the old Jewish church and replace and it was renewed with the new church of Christianity. This is not only for Jews but also includes Gentiles. Jesus had only three years to complete his mission so he had to get working as soon as possible. The twelve he chose were (MK3: 16-19) Simon (Jesus gave him the name Peter); James and his brother John, the sons of Zebedee (Jesus gave him the name Boanerges or 'sons of Thunder'), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the patriot and Judas Iscariot (who betrayed Jesus). All these men in whom he picked by Jesus were pretty ordinary. The majority were fishermen but among them there was a tax collector and even a zealot. This was rare because at this time the tax collectors worked for the Romans and were considered sinners and unclean because they cheated people and the zealots were rivalries of the Romans. ...read more.


(Mk6: 7-13) From this we learn what Jesus expected off them and what they had to do as his disciples. The disciples were willing to do as he said and went out far and wide to spread the word of God. Jesus had told them what to bring and from this we realise that he had told them basically not to bring any material processions, as they aren't needed. Jesus gives the disciples a very clear indication of the cost of discipleship just after the first prediction of his suffering and death and the rebuke of Peter. 'Anybody who wishes to be a follower of mine must leave self behind; he must take up his cross, and come with me.' (Mk8: 34) What Jesus meant by these words was 'to leave self behind' does not just mean denying oneself. It does not mean going without certain pleasures in life so many people do, for example, in lent. To leave self behind means to put oneself last in all and to have no desire for rights or privileges except that of belonging to God. To take up the cross means to carry your burden and take up the sins of everyone else. Discipleship means being prepared to follow Jesus even to the point of death. Last of all there's when Jesus says 'Come with me'. This command from Jesus for all people to come with him only makes sense when put in the context of the teaching that immediately comes after it. ...read more.


Jesus always had a way of teaching his disciples how to be better people. He used events to teach them, he also used to talking sessions to teach them. The disciples were taught many valuable lessons from God. A perfect example of Discipleship is 'the widow at the treasury'. As Jesus sat near the temple treasury, he watched the people as they dropped in their money. Many rich men dropped in a lot of money; then a poor widow came along and dropped in two little copper coins, worth about a penny. He called his disciples and said to them, 'I tell you that this poor widow put more in the offering box than all the others. For the others put in what they had to spare of their riches; but she, poor as she is, put in all she had- she gave all she had to live on'. This story tells us also that the meaning to discipleship is to be willing to give everything up for God. Also the main person in this story is the old widow. At the time of Jesus women weren't really important and it shows that a disciple can be male or female. The widows' offering was very important as she gave out her poverty instead of her wealth. Her motivation was completely selfless; she was more dependent on God than on material wealth. She was the perfect model of Discipleship. As you can see from all that has been written Discipleship has many meanings and their main aim is to spread the word of God and bring about the new Covenant. ...read more.

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