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Examine the teaching on the nature of Christian discipleship which is found in the Fourth Gospel - Evaluate its significance for an understanding of early Christian behaviour

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Introduction

Chlo� Titcomb 12.4 April 2002 Discipleship a. Examine the teaching on the nature of Christian discipleship which is found in the Fourth Gospel. b. Evaluate its significance for an understanding of early Christian behaviour. a. The Fourth Gospel has the theme of discipleship featuring prominently throughout it. There are twelve of Jesus' disciples mentioned but there are many disciples as long as you have the required qualities. These qualities include faithfulness, loyalty, trust, open to having change in their life, and the desire to learn amongst many other things. One idea found in the Fourth Gospel regarding Christian discipleship is the idea that they are born from above. They do not belong to this world and they are aliens. The world will hate them because of this and they are different form everyone else. No one can receive God unless they are reborn from above. This is something that Nicodemus does not understand and shows himself not to a true disciple. Being a follower of Jesus means that you are no longer from this world and you no longer belong. Jesus showed how he was born from above with the virgin birth. It portrayed that he is not from this world but sent from above. John 1:11 shows this, 'he came to that which was his own, but his won did not receive him', he no longer belongs to the world but is like an alien. A true disciple must have a mutual indwelling with Jesus, he must live in you and you must live in him. John teaches us in the Fourth Gospel that a true disciple will understand this and be reborn form above in order to gain this mutual indwelling with Jesus that is so important. ...read more.

Middle

A true disciple must love others and care for others just as Jesus did. Through the teaching of Christian discipleship in the Fourth Gospel we learn that one part of their nature must be the ability to bring others to faith. They have to bring other people to also become disciples of Jesus. The Samaritan woman is a good example of this. Jesus defied convention by talking to this woman and respects her as a person like she deserves. Jesus brought the woman to faith by giving her understanding and in turn the woman brings people to faith because she now sees. She was insightful and a good witness which is also an important quality which one must possess in order to be a good disciple. The Samaritan woman is shown to be one of the best disciples because of her clear admission of faith and bringing other people to be disciples of Jesus. Another example of this is Simon Peter who also brings other people to faith and to be disciples of Jesus. Like the Samaritan woman he is also shown to hold one of the most important qualities in a disciple, the ability to bring other's to faith. Women are shown to be the best models of discipleship in John's Gospel and it is through them that we can learn the nature of Christina discipleship. Perhaps one of the best examples used by John to teach us about disciples is Martha. Jesus taught Martha and she reveals understanding in the things that she has been taught. This is one of the qualities that John is stating as one a true disciple must have. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another model who shows us what some early Christians behaved like was the lame man, he betrays Jesus and represents a great number of people at that time who did not believe in Jesus. The lame man represents the synagogue Jews who do not believe the testimony of Moses, God or the prophets. The Blind Man was the model disciple who parallels the Johaninne Community, according to Rensberger. All of these models are good examples to show us some early Christina behaviour and give us an understanding of how some people behaved. However this piece of writing can also be said that it is insignificant to give us an understanding of early Christian behaviour because we are only taught what a good disciple should be like. It does not really tell us what many people behave like, it uses models of discipleship. For example as I have mentioned earlier, there were three specific models of discipleship and how a Christian should behave in the Fourth Gospel; Nicodemus, the lame man and the blind man. These models are examples of some but you can not group all people into just three categories. It is impossible to put a vast number of people in such groups. I think the Fourth Gospel is quite a good piece of writing to give us an understanding of the early Christian behaviour because it gives us three examples of what most of the people behaved like. It also shows us the qualities of a good disciple and how people should live their lives. People can see how to be a good disciple and follow these suggestions in order to be a good Christian and John also teaches us about how the early Christians behaved. ...read more.

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