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Explain what a study of St. Marks Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of discipleship.

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Introduction

Explain what a study of St. Marks Gospel can tell Christians about the nature of discipleship. St. Mark is an invaluable source of information for Christians in learning about the nature of discipleship. St. Mark provides Christians with many parables told by Jesus that enlighten his followers as to what they have undertaken in becoming a disciple of Jesus, they learn that to be a disciple is not an easy way of life as they may receive 'persecutions' and other hardships. However as one would expect St. Mark also retells his readers of the rewards of discipleship as told to the twelve apostles by Jesus. One of the major themes of St. Marks Gospel is discipleship; while disciples are expected to follow the example set by Jesus it is extremely difficult to be infallible. Due to this, weaknesses and flaws are to be expected in any disciple, St. Mark was realistic and instead of ignoring these flaws he used them to teach his readers of how not to act. The definition of a disciple is 'someone who believes in and helps to spread the teachings of another', usually a religious leader, in the time of Jesus. The usual method for people to become a disciple was for them to choose and attach themselves to leader or rabbi. Jesus however did not follow this usual pattern; instead he himself went out and called the disciples. ...read more.

Middle

The disciples also went out and preached that 'people should repent' (Mk 6:12) for their sins; this was another important message of Jesus as he had ' "not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mk 2:17)'. The disciples also travelled in pairs; they did this for many reasons, to act as witnesses and companions for each other. The message of spreading God's Kingdom was extremely important and was one of the main reasons why Jesus was sent from heaven; thus nothing could interfere with it. Due to the severity of the mission at hand Jesus told the disciples to travel lightly, thus this would speed up their journey. The disciples were expected to have faith (an important quality for disciples) in the generosity (another quality of discipleship) of people and faith in God to provide the subsistence required to travel on such a journey. An important quality of discipleship is generosity, as we learn from the Widow at the Treasury (Mk 12:41-44) generosity is relative in that while the other people gave more money, the widow gave everything that she had. As mentioned this incident shows generosity but it also shows many other qualities of discipleship; sacrifice, commitment, dependence on God and faith that God will keep her safe. The other example that shows that generosity was when Jesus met with the Rich Young Man (Mk 10:17-27), in this incident we learn that Jesus instantly 'loved him'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The main reward of discipleship is 'eternal life'; eternal life is shown to be possible through Jesus rising from the dead and is our faith that allows us to believe that we too will receive eternal life. The apostles themselves found it difficult to life a completely pure life, due to this there are examples in the Gospel that show that the disciples lacked the required qualities of faith, courage and trust. We learn from St. Marks Gospel that Peter, thought to be the greatest disciple in that he was to become the leader of the Church, showed these lapses in judgement. Examples of Peter's failure are when he (as well as James and John) fell asleep at the Garden of Gethsemane, when Peter denied Jesus in the courtyard. One of the greatest and most renowned failures of discipleship was when Judas betrayed Jesus to the authorities. The final time recorded in the Gospel that show the disciples lack of faith was at the Commission when Jesus rebuked all the remaining disciples for their lack of faith. In the Commission the disciples were then given orders on how they must spread the word. In conclusion St. Marks Gospel provides Christians with the opportunity to learn about discipleship. Discipleship is a never-ending journey as there will always be another bridge to cross another obstacle to over-come and another aspect to learn about the life of Jesus. Overall St. Marks Gospel provides Christians with the qualities required for discipleship, as well as the nature of discipleship. ...read more.

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