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Explain the meaning of discipleship for the first disciples.

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Introduction

Mark's Gospel Discipleship Richard Smith 5alpha 1a) Explain the meaning of discipleship for the first disciples. The word disciple comes from the Latin word "discipulus" meaning pupil. This already gives us some insight into what people believe the meaning of discipleship is. The implication that the disciple is a pupil has differing degrees and many meanings within itself. For example, a pupil can be anyone; they don't have to be clever or great, but are where they are to learn. A pupil also indicates a certain amount of respect for the person they are learning from (i.e. Teacher, Jesus). The dictionary definition of disciple is 'a follower of a teacher or leader'. This suggests a devotion to this "teacher" or "leader". Discipleship for the first century disciples had many different meanings, one of which was devotion. This is shown by Mark in the passage - "Jesus called Levi". Levi has no hesitation about following Jesus: he just does it. "Follow me". Levi got up and followed him. He showed unquestioning faith by leaving his work and obeying Jesus. In the very first chapter of Mark when Jesus calls the fishermen they show extreme faith in him by doing the same as Levi. James and John both just get up and leave their father in the fishing boat. The disciples show extreme faith when Jesus sends them out to preach, without even an extra shirt. Jesus tells them to go without any money or a beggar's bag. They are to leave everything. If discipleship is about faith the Peter shows the ultimate amount in his "Declaration about Jesus". By calling Jesus the Messiah he risks his life. In the first century it was blasphemy, what Peter had just done, and it was punishable by death. Discipleship in the first century was about unquestioning belief in firstly what Jesus was saying and doing, but also in the Good News. ...read more.

Middle

We look on religion with a totally opposing view. It is no longer a reason as to why things are going wrong in our lives or to explain natural disasters. We now know why thing like earthquakes happen and it is not because god is angry with us and an earthquake is his punishment. Science has explained these things for us. Also, blasphemy doesn't exist as a crime, and the death penalty has been abolished in this country. So the Bible takes on a whole new meaning in the 20th century. Each passage can be applied differently to a modern situation. For example, we can no longer be executed for being a Christian, but regular, in todays, world churchgoers are in a minority and in many cases are ridiculed for it. Even in popular TV programmes, religious characters a portrayed in a negative light. Take Ned Flanders, from the Simpsons, as an example: he is shown to be a boring, predictable character and is often laughed at. This is the view many people now have on religion. Here the 'Lamp Under the Bowl' becomes about being open about your beliefs and not hiding them in the face of ridicule. Mrs Thornely, a teacher at my school said, "Christianity is about recognising Jesus as our leader, Lord and the Son of God". Also the 'Mustard Seed' has quite the opposite meaning to a modern day Christians. It is not the seed that need to by grown by the tree that need to by resurrected. Christianity it at its largest in the way of numbers, but the majority of these are non-practicing Christians. The true believers are in a minority now. Another thing that has changed is our principle beliefs about life. Firstly, we have wholly different views about religion and god. For example, Mrs Stones, the head mistress a Chetwynde School, believes that modern discipleship is about "raising children in the proper manner". ...read more.

Conclusion

We can still follow Jesus' words today, if we only were to make them appropriate for modern society. For example, we not longer need to 'shake the dust of out feet' and leave. We can take time to preach, even where it is not wanted - we are no longer trying to spread the seed as far as possible, we are trying to revive the tree. This can be done with most of the New Testament's teachings. If we do this then, surely, God would be pleased with us and it would be possible to be a disciple in this modern world. Also, many people who say that to be a disciple would simply be a follower of Jesus and therefore the true Christians today are all disciples. The phrase 'God fearing Christians' no longer applies to many people today. However, those regular churchgoers, people who actually believe: they should be called disciples. In the 20th century, people have stopped believing. The Christian religion is statistically the largest religion on the planet, but not many of those people will ever go to church. It is the task of today's disciples to try and make people believe again. To instil their confidence in the Christian faith into those people that are only Christian because their parents were. I believe that it may well be possible to be a disciple in the modern world. People must now make religion applicable first to themselves, as your own beliefs must be satisfied, and then to the society you live in, because otherwise nothing can be achieved (as the fist eleven lived far too long ago). However, for me, I could not ever consider myself or want to consider myself a disciple. The amount of faith that would require, now that science has overcome many of the first century problems and beliefs, is far greater than I have or most of today's society has. I think discipleship can be achieved, but it is not how modern people wish to spend their lives. ...read more.

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