Christians Beliefs on Nature of Discipleship and St Mark's Gospel

Christians Beliefs on Nature of Discipleship and St Mark's Gospel

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Christians Beliefs on Nature of Discipleship and St Mark's Gospel

A Christian disciple is a person who lives continually by the Word
of Jesus. They are not only people who follow occasional words of the
master, but rather people who commit themselves to follow through the
teaching of the Master in a disciplined and committed way. Jesus is
our Master. He will speak living words to us daily through the Holy
Spirit. The main thought behind discipleship in marks Gospel is not
one of inspiration but more of instruction. Jesus instructions fall in
to two parts First he gave the disciples instructions in what they
should take for the journey ‘Take nothing for the journey except a
staff no bread, no bag, no money in you belts. Wear sandals but not
an extra tunic‘ (Mk6:7-12). Jesus instructions may have seemed harsh
but it taught the disciples how to depend on God and the generosity of
other people. This taught the disciples an important part of
discipleship the willingness to depend on God.

In the first chapter of Marks Gospel Jesus call the Four Fisherman
and the fisherman’s response is almost immediate ‘At once they left
their nets and followed him’. Jesus demands a response the call to
discipleship is definite and demands a choice to respond with total
commitment. But note Jesus did not choose wealthy significant men from
the Jewish society he choose ordinary men who had failed numerous
times and still continued to fail as disciples for example in Marks
Gospel we see these failings in stories such as: Jesus Calms the
Storm, The Garden of Gethsemane and Peter’s Denial. But yet Jesus
still called fishermen, hardworking people to perform the most
important task on earth being fishers of men.

Jesus readily told his disciples that discipleship was a very serious
business. It was a costly thing. Jesus did not start out by offering
his followers a bed of roses. He made it absolutely clear from the
beginning what was involved. To be a disciple of Jesus they need to

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deny themselves, and take up their cross and follow him. Jesus was
telling them to give their whole lives and everything they had to God
for him to use as he wants. Their cross is not a burden imposed on
them, but something that they willingly undertook for the sake of the
Gospel. God comes first in their lives before consideration of self or
even of others. His will matters above all else. To put God first is
best, both for the disciples and all whom they love. Because Jesus
demanded such a high price for discipleship. He challenged first for
everyone to count the cost. (Mk 10:17-31) In view of the high cost of
discipleship which Jesus required, it is not surprising that he only
ended up with a few deeply committed followers but those few were
enough to change the world. The commitment that Jesus required was
total. It was a commitment to a loving Master who has no self interest
but rather is concerned for our total welfare and growth in God. Jesus
has the right to demand this commitment as he laid down his life for
them. Jesus was totally committed to them and he wanted the same
commitment from the disciples in return. He wanted them to trust him
in every step as he takes their lives and moulds them in accordance
with his will. Mark Illustrates this in the story of the Widows
offering, she gave all she had demonstrating total trust and
commitment. (Mk 12:41-44)

Jesus said to the disciples ‘if anyone want to be first, he must be
the very last, and the servant of all’ Jesus persisted in making this
point for Jesus himself did not come to be served but he came to serve
and in doing so laid down his life. Mark also stress this in the story
of the Request of James and John ‘whoever wants to be first must be
slave of all’

Jesus also stressed to the disciples that being a Christian was not
accepting a life of woe and constant suffering and persecution but
quite the opposite as can be seen in the words of Jesus in (Mk
10:28-31) Peter asked Jesus how they would be rewarded for following
him and Jesus said ‘I tell you the truth no one has left home or
brothers or sisters or mothers or father or children or fields for me
and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this
present ages and in the age to come, eternal life’, but he does
mention persecution as well. In other words discipleship is not easy
and may demand huge sacrifice but Mark shows how Jesus himself became
the role model for the disciples and for the whole world.
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