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Yeshua in Context » Disciples & Named Characters, Discipleship - Formation » Disciple-Fail in Mark

Disciple-Fail in Mark

I’m not sure if the Fail Blog will take notice, but the gospel of Mark has a strong theme of disciple-fail. Is this simply a relic of the past or is disciple-fail a live option for modern disciples too?

What are the types and symptoms of disciple-fail in Mark? It is an illuminating topic to delve into.

The references below are drawn from John R. Donahue and Daniel Harrington, The Gospel of Mark: Sacra Pagina.

…3:21, people were saying [of Yeshua], “He is beside himself.” Could the disciples have been included here?

…4:13-20, the different soils on which the seed [of Israel's resoration, see ch. 11 of Yeshua in Context] falls. Don’t we think the disciples are included in those who will fall away?

…4:40, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” Yeshua was impatient with the slow rate at which the disciples understood his identity. This would continue until AFTER the resurrection, by the way.

…5:31, the disciples laugh at Yeshua, “How can you ask who touched you?” They don’t grasp his manner of teaching and his patience to explain things to inquirers and those in need.

…6:50-52, their hearts were hardened after the feeding of the 5,000. They didn’t get who Yeshua was (hint: more than Messiah).

…7:18; 8:4; 8:16-21, “Are you without understanding?”

…8:33, Peter has rebuked Yeshua for saying the Son of Man must suffer (Peter thinks he will only rule). Yeshua says, “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter would teach the teacher, he is so sure of his scriptural understanding.

…9:32; 10:35-45, the disciples jockey for position and power. If you can’t see that this is a modern disciple-fail as well, what can you see?

…14:33-41, the disciples cannot stay awake at Gethsemane.

…14:50, when Yeshua is arrested, they flee.

…14:66-72, Peter’s denials.

…16:8, the women at the tomb told no one and were terrified.

A few observations: (1) God’s ways often are surprising and paradoxical while his people expect him to be conventional, (2) few grasp what true peace is, confusing the notion with the absence of suffering, (3) few understand the idea of nearness and Presence as peace, (4) insiders often have little patience with outsiders, (5) professing to know about humility and servanthood, religion is full of power-seekers and egoists, (6) future hope is lost and forgotten in the day to day trials of living, (7) truth is prioritized over sacrifice all too easily in religion.

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Filed under: Disciples & Named Characters, Discipleship - Formation

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