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Explain what a study of Saint Mark's Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of Discipleship

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Introduction

Explain what a study of Saint Mark's Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of Discipleship The word disciple is derived from the Latin "discipulusi" meaning pupil or learner. In Mark's gospel we hear of the disciples of the Pharisees and the followers of John the Baptist being known as disciples. Although Jesus is not 'officially' recognised as a teacher he was popularly known as a teacher (11:21) and his associates were known as disciples. The word could be used to describe all those who responded to his message but it generally applies to a select 12 named in 3:16-19, who were all called personally by Jesus. This is very significant, because 12 is the Jewish number of perfection. These 12 were not, as one may expect 'model citizens', or even senior members of the church. To be a disciple then meant an exclusive loyalty to Jesus and readiness to put Jesus first whatever the cost. He chose the disciples in order to train them to share in his work of preaching and healing, and to eventually carry on his mission after he had departed. ...read more.

Middle

Jesus brought the disciples together and he sent them out two by two. He gave authority over evil spirits and told them strictly to bring nothing with them on their journey except a stick - no bread, beggar's bag, money. To wear sandals and not even to carry an extra shirt. This signifies the urgency of the mission. It must have been a very daunting task for the disciples. The mission Jesus was sending them on would have been very exerting on them - both emotionally and physically. With no good roads or public transport and with the size of the area to cover travel would have been difficult. Jesus tried to help them by teaming them up and giving them a companion along the way. Jesus also gave them instructions that if they were not welcomed in a place to: "Leave it and shake the dust off your feet" (6:11) This would be a warning to the people. Jesus also told his disciples: "Anyone who leaves home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and for the Gospel, will receive much more in this present age." ...read more.

Conclusion

On many occasions the disciples failed to realise exactly who Jesus was and what his job as "Messiah" actually involved, because the word Messiah at that time was seen as a military power who would free the Jews from Roman rule by force. As their time together elapsed the disciples began to recognise his role as a "Suffering Messiah". James and John failed to recognise Jesus as this when they asked him for 'prime' seats in heaven, and in the story of The Calming of the Storm the disciples failed to recognise Jesus as being "all-powerful", when they thought they were all going to drown. In the garden of Gethsemane three of Jesus' closest disciples let him down when they fell asleep when he told them to: "Stay here and keep watch." (14:32) Then once after Jesus was arrested all the disciples ran away in far that they too would be arrested. Then Peter failed Jesus when he denied knowing him in the courtyard of the High Priest's house. The commission shows us that Jesus forgave his disciples for failing him. He wanted his disciples to continue spreading the Good News and to: "Go throughout the whole world and preach the Gospel to all mankind." (16:15) ...read more.

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