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Explain what a study of Mark's Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of discipleship.

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Introduction

Explain what a study of Mark's Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of discipleship. (A01) In Mark's Gospel we learn about the aspects of discipleship. We learn that Jesus choose ordinary men to be his disciples, not just holy men. He choose tax collectors, fishermen and nationalists. A disciple is someone who follows a teacher. In the Gospel stories there are many disciples who become close to Jesus and are better known as the twelve apostles. These twelve apostles symbolise the twelve tribes of Israel. A disciple of Jesus was expected to make many sacrifices. They had to totally commit themselves to following Jesus and they were expected to make an immediate response, for example, leave behind their family, security, friends and their old way of life. If one wasn't prepared to do this, then they were unable to become a disciple of Jesus and this is related in the story of the rich young man. An examination of the nature of discipleship involves a study of the call of Jesus to his disciples and their response. In the story where 'Jesus Calls Four Fisherman' (Mk1:14-20), it teaches us how Jesus choose the first of the disciples. He was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee when he saw two fishermen catching fish in a net; it was Simon and his brother Andrew. He said to come with him, "Come with me and I will teach you how to catch people". ...read more.

Middle

in their lives like the soil that landed on the good soil and not like the seed that landed on the footpath, rocky ground or among the thorny bushes. This was essential if discipleship was to succeed and not fall away once temptation or difficulty came their way like the seed that landed on rocky ground and did not have any real roots. In studying the nature of discipleship it is important that we look at what the first disciples understand to be Jesus' true identity and his mission. The first disciples on many occasions failed to realise exactly who Jesus was and the mission he had to fulfil. In the story where 'Jesus speaks about his suffering and death' (Mk8:31-33) Jesus predicts his death and resurrection for the first time. In this passage Jesus is attempting to teach his disciples about his real mission. Jesus predicts the trial before the Sanhedrin Council, His death and resurrection. Peter however cannot accept that Jesus must suffer so he takes Jesus' side and rebukes him. This portrayal of Peter shows that he fails to understand the real meaning of the mission of Jesus. Peter can not accept that the Messiah must suffer and he refuses to believe this. This implies that Peter understands the Messiah as someone who is powerful and will overthrow the Romans. Mark shows Jesus getting angry with Peter; he is annoyed because Peter fails to understand who Jesus really is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whilst the rich men were putting in a lot of money in the temple treasury, the poor widow came along and dropped in two copper coins, worth about a penny.' You may think that the rich men made the biggest sacrifice, but it really was the poor widow. Although she only put in a penny, it was everything that she had - she gave all she had to live on. The rich men put in a lot of money, but it was only what they had to spare of their riches - it wasn't everything they had. By giving all she had, this shows that she was willing to place all her trust in God. Jesus wanted his disciples to witness the poor widow giving all she had because he wanted to emphasise to them that if they wanted to be a disciple, they must have to be prepared to give up everything they had. They had to take up their cross and follow Jesus. This teaches us that the nature of discipleship included the willingness to make self sacrifice and endure suffering for the sake of the Gospel. Conclusion From a study of Mark's Gospel we learn that for the first disciples and the disciples today, discipleship was, and is, like a journey. In Mark's Gospel the journey is shown to be a journey of great personal sacrifice and self-abandonment, even to the point of death. The nature of discipleship therefore describes a great journey of obedience, sacrifice, poverty, faith, commitment, love, forgiveness and perseverance. On completion it promises happiness with God in the Kingdom Of Heaven. ...read more.

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