In St Mark’s Gospel what can we learn about discipleship

A disciple is a student or learner. Jesus chose twelve men to learn God’s message from him. Jesus was no ordinary teacher; if men wanted to learn the Jewish law they would go and choose a Rabbi to study under. Jesus was different because he chose his followers. E. g. Mk 1:14-21 The first disciples Jesus chose were four fishermen Mk 1:14-21. The first two were Simon and his brother Andrew, he then called two more brothers, James and John. The next person Jesus chose was a tax collector named Levi. The Jewish people saw tax collectors as traitors because they worked for the Roman authorities and were known to cheat people out of money.

We are not sure in which order Jesus chose the next seven but we do know he called twelve men. The choice of these men could and would have been surprising for many people, for example Levi was a traitor in most peoples eyes but Jesus justified this when he said, “I have come to call sinners, not respectable people. ” This means that he came to get sinners like Levi back on track. He was also saying that the Kingdom of God is for all people not just for perfect people. Another reason for why Jesus called Levi is maybe because Jesus saw good qualities in him.

Levi would have been used to getting abuse and as a disciple you were going to get abuse. The fishermen he chose would also have had many good qualities. Fishermen would have known all the local people and therefore could get these people to follow Jesus. Jesus chose ordinary people because they would be easier to teach his ways to. The first four disciples Jesus picked are brothers. I think he chose brothers for a reason. Brothers have a special bond; they love each other, look after each other, stick with each other, defend and protect each other.

Jesus sent the disciples out in twos, brothers would not need introducing or need to find out about each other, they could just go out and do it. Jesus chose the men he wanted. He chose them from a large crowd; he had lots of choice. This could show that Jesus saw potential in them. The disciples’ response was extremely strange. When Jesus called the men they just got up and left. In the story of Jesus calls four fishermen (Mk 1:14-21) the men didn’t ask any questions about Jesus but left their businesses, families, friends and belongings behind.

James and John had hired men in the story, this shows that they were well off, obviously a very good fishing business, yet they left it all behind. This shows that Jesus had authority and power in the way he spoke. He invited the disciples and they accepted. When Jesus chose the twelve he wanted, he gave them the title ‘Apostles’. He gave them three instructions, “I have chosen you to be with me, I will also send you out to preach, you will have authority over evil. ” He demanded the disciples to be committed. After the twelve had been with Jesus for some time, they were sent out on a mission to practice spreading the word.

They had seen Jesus preach (1:39), cast out evil (1:21-28), heal the sick (1:29-34), be in conflict with the Jewish leaders (3:1-6) and heard him teach in parables (4:10-20). They had learnt how to preach God’s message. When they did preached God’s message they were not allowed much with them. This shows that discipleship requires sacrifice and having no material goods to rely on. This taught them to have faith in God. Later in the Gospel (16:14-18) Jesus gives the disciples more instructions, to perform miracles, speak in different languages and be protected from poison and snakes.

Jesus wanted them to carry on when he went and therefore said that they will be protected because without Jesus the disciples may have been scared. Jesus told the disciples “Anyone who wants to be a follower of mine, must leave self behind” This is about belonging to God and putting yourself last. “… he must take up his cross” This means to follow Jesus even to death. “… and come with me. ” This involves giving up everything. To be a disciple you must be a servant for all, always put others first. You must have very few material goods.

You must leave your family and old life behind because they needed to concentrate on Jesus’ message and on their job in hand. The disciples would have to be prepared to take one hundred times more persecution. These are some of the costs of discipleship, Although the costs are very demanding there is a rewarding side to discipleship. In this life disciples will get one hundred times as many fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children and fields. This is part of being in the Kingdom of God, all the people who joined would have been their new family.

Also in the next life you will get eternal life with God, “Whoever looses his life for me and for the Gospel will gain it. ” The Disciples often got things wrong, for example Judas gave Jesus up for thirty silver coins. Another example is in the calming of the storm (4:35-41) The disciples had no faith in Jesus’ power. We learn a great deal about discipleship in St. Marks Gospel. We learn that although it was hard and demanding there were also many rewards. We learn that Jesus chose then men he wanted and that God approved of these. To be a disciple you would have had to be committed. Discipleship is still relevant in today’s world.

Christians, people who follow Jesus Christ, are modern day disciples. They all have a calling to serve God. This is known as a vocation. Mark’s Gospel affects some Christians completely. They try to live fully as the disciples did for example monks or nuns. Others only follow some of the teachings and others live with little thought for the Gospel teaching. There are many different, important aspects of discipleship that people today can follow. People today can heal as the disciples did by becoming doctors or nurses. Another way of healing would be as a priest giving the sacrament of the sick to people.

The disciples healed people throughout the Gospel and to heal was one of their first instructions this shows that healing was an important aspect of discipleship. Another important aspect of discipleship was preaching. This was also one of the first instructions given to the disciples. People can take after the disciples and preach today in many ways. Religious Education teachers, teach their pupils about the word of God. Public preachers stand in front of crowds in town centres and preach about God. Another way is at church a priest preaches about the word of God. The Disciples also did a lot of self-sacrifice.

They gave up everything for Jesus. People today can show self-sacrifice by becoming a monk or a nun. When you become a monk/nun you have to take a vow of poverty, which mean that you have to give up all you have. Giving up your money and all you have for charity would be another way of showing self-sacrifice. Service is yet another aspect of discipleship. The disciples served Jesus and God. People can serve God today by just simply following the commandments or going to church every week. Another way of living a life of service would be becoming a priest, a monk or a nun. Discipleship also involves prayer e. g. Mk 9: 29.

People can follow this today by praying to God. They can pray in all types of different ways, silent prayer, group prayers, etc… etc. I think that some Christians do all these things very well e. g. Martin Luther-King and Mother Teresa who renounced their lives for the Gospel, some do them quite well and others don’t try to do them at all. Christians who are not affected by St. Mark’s Gospel have many reasons why. One might be that religion is just a social part of life. Some people cannot be affected because they are too busy. Some other people might think that the Gospel is just a story and is not relevant to everyday life.

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