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The meaning of Discipleship, For the first Disciples.

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Introduction

The meaning of Discipleship, For the first Disciples. In this essay, I am to define the meaning of discipleship for the first disciples. The word disciple is derived from the Latin discipulus meaning pupil or learner. In Mark's gospel there is reference to the disciples of the Pharisees 2:19 and the followers of John the Baptist were known as disciples. Although Jesus was not officially recognized as a teacher he was popularly known as teacher or rabbi 8:5, 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 refers to a select twelve named in 3:16-19, who were all called personally by Jesus. 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. In a sense he was to live on in them. Such an attitude goes well beyond a normal pupil-teacher relationship, giving the word disciple a whole new meaning. Teachers around the time when Jesus lived thought that learning was such that the people who wanted to learn should come to them to be taught. Jesus felt differently and rather than waiting for people to come to him, he went out to find them and then chose them to be his followers. ...read more.

Middle

Jesus was a suffering servant, the Son of Man. For a disciple to be a good Christian, they must be like Christ. Therefore, they must suffer, and serve, and sacrifice. To be considered a true disciple, you still have to live by the rules set by Jesus, 2000 years ago. Many modern day disciples are said to have vocations, (a vocation is a calling, often a religious one, to a certain type of job, or lifestyle), such as priests, or others in the religious orders. The challenge of discipleship is to strive to act like Jesus, when he was on Earth. Jesus strived to live up to his values, at times he failed, at times he felt like giving up, but he didn't. He carried on, regardless of the danger to his own life around every corner. The disciples, again, fail many times during Marks' gospel; most notably in the garden of Gethsemane, when they all fell asleep several times, despite Jesus' request that they stand guard, and after the crucifixion, when Peter, one of the first, denied that he even knew Jesus. The disciples called by Jesus had the faults of ordinary men..." (Witness in a Pagan World by Eric Johns and David Major) In the mission of the twelve, Jesus calls them to him and sends them out in two's saying that they have the authority over evil spirits. ...read more.

Conclusion

On many occasions the disciples misunderstood the path they are supposed to follow and they misunderstand their role as disciples, and on many occasions, Jesus has had to correct them. Their role was very difficult and they were not always able to deal with a situation in the correct state of mind. In Mark 9:33-37, the disciples are arguing about whom is the greatest disciple and Jesus has to tell them, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35) It was here that Jesus taught his disciples the difference between greatness and humility, and that they were here on earth to serve others. Another example of the disciples misunderstanding their role is when James and John ask that Jesus reserve a place for them in heaven, at his left and right hand. Jesus has to correct them and tell them these places are not granted by him, but "These places belong to those whom they have been prepared." (Mark 10:40) It is here that Jesus tells them there is a clear difference between his suffering and others and he tells them this after he predicts his death for the second time. Jesus then had to begin to teach the meaning of discipleship to them again, after they misunderstood. He has shown his disciples the way of his word through his own example. True disciples are true followers of Jesus Christ. ...read more.

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