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

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Introduction

RE Coursework - Part 1 Discipleship Question - Explain what a study of St. Mark's Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of discipleship. The word 'disciple' means 'follower', or 'learner'. When Jesus first begins to preach, he chooses 12 disciples to follow him. His disciples were different, though, because they were so ordinary. They didn't have to be 'special' in any way. They were fishermen mainly, and other everyday people. Jesus even chose a tax collector, to prove that anyone could enter the Kingdom of God if they believed. The number 12 was significant. In the Old Testament, 12 tribes of Israel were chosen. 12 leaders were then chosen to rule the Jewish people and the covenant with God. Jesus was coming to establish a new covenant. The 12 disciples might have represented a new kingdom. The job of the disciples was to help Jesus to spread God's word. He chose ordinary people, not wealthy ones like the Pharisees, and outcasts, like tax collectors (Levi). This was to show that the kingdom of God was for everyone, not just 'special' people. Later, he chose apostles (meaning messenger - the disciples had learnt more by this time). They are give three instructions: 'to preach, drive out demons and be with me' (3:13-19). As they, learn more, the disciples are given more instructions. They are eventually entrusted with the task of spreading God's word, and taking over from Jesus (16:14-18). Here, Jesus tells them to preach throughout the whole world, heal the sick and drive out demons. ...read more.

Middle

They have to sacrifice things for him. Today, the fishermen can be compared to priests, nuns, monks etc, who leave their homes and lives to follow God. They have to make huge sacrifices, like leaving their families, and giving up comforts, to be closer to God. But, in doing this, they also leave their old sins behind, to lead better lives. Some people, like Mother Teresa and Oscar Romero, go out to other parts of the world to preach and help people. They are like 'modern disciples', and dedicate their whole lives to doing God's god work. They live their lives in accordance with Jesus' teachings, just like the disciples did. They also, at times, probably failed like the disciples. When Jesus tells his disciples to preach to the whole world (16:14-18), he is asking them to take over his mission and do God's work. This is what people like Mother Teresa and Oscar Romero are doing. Monks and nuns also follow Jesus' teaching. In the story of the rich young man (10:17-29), Jesus tells the man, 'You only need one thing. Go and sell all you have to the poor...then come and follow me.' He is saying that you do not need material comforts to be happy, just your faith. Monks and nuns do this. They give up possessions and money for the poor, and lead a very plain lifestyle, relying entirely on their faith. They also take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. This is a good example of where they use the qualities needed for discipleship - service, humility and generosity. ...read more.

Conclusion

We can see from the start that Peter is special. He is one of the first to be called by Jesus, and then later give the name Peter (he was originally called Simon). Jesus seems to immediately choose him as a close friend, and relies on him through hard times. When they are praying in Gethsemane, Jesus finds that the disciples can't even stay awake for him (14:32-42). He says, 'Simon, are you asleep? Weren't you able to stay awake even for one hour?' He asks Peter this, even thought there are others there too. Jesus obviously sees Peter as important, and trusts him. When Peter lets him down, he becomes irritated. Later, when Jesus s arrested, all the disciples leave him and run away. They are with him until the end, but become scared, and back out when he really needs them. When Peter denies Jesus, we see a good example of the times when he failed, and was wrong (14:66-77). He denies him three times, then, when the cock crows, realises that he has just betrayed Jesus. We see how much he regrets it, though, because he breaks down and cries. When Jesus rises again, Peter and the disciples do not believe the women who have seen him. This shows that Peter still doesn't have complete faith and, again, Jesus is angry. Despite all this, I think that Peter was a good role model. He made lots of mistakes, but learned from them, and gradually became a better Christian. He is an example that we, too, can do this. He was an ordinary person, who made just as many mistakes, and we can relate to him easily. ...read more.

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