Disciples Global Network

Jesus and the Meaning of Discipleship

Unexpected, Rejected, Crucified

The Son of Man is revealed and comprehended in his sufferings and self-sacrificial death for others, including his enemies

This theme is found several times in the Gospel of Mark, namely, the inability of men to recognize Jesus as the Son of God until AFTER his crucifixion and resurrection, and most paradoxically, the first man to identify him as the “Son of God” was the Roman centurion on duty at his execution. His self-identification as the suffering “Son of Man” made him unrecognizable and distasteful to unregenerate men. He was the kind of Messiah no one expected or wanted.

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Jesus experienced growing conflict as he began his journey to the city of Jerusalem. In Galilee, he displayed his lordship over nature, demons, disease, and even death, and the crowds welcomed him, at first, enthusiastically. However, among his own people, he was met with unbelief and rejection, and in the Gospel of Mark, this serves as the prelude to the execution of John the Baptist. More importantly, it becomes the pattern for what disciples of Jesus may expect when they preach the Gospel.

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The Promise of the Father

The “Promise of the Father” is the Gift of the Spirit, and in his letters, the Apostle Paul links it to the Abrahamic covenant in his letters. The covenant promises to the Patriarch find their fulfillment in the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus as confirmed by the bestowal of the Spirit on the Assembly in Jerusalem. The events on the Day of Pentecost marked the commencement of the age of fulfillment. “In Christ,” Gentile believers become full heirs of Abraham along with believing Jews.

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Counting the Cost

Jesus sent his twelve disciples to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom throughout the region. In the Gospel of Mark, this incident is followed by the execution of John the Baptist. His death serves as a warning to the would-be disciple that rejection will inevitably follow his or her decision to follow Jesus of Nazareth no matter where he leads. To walk in his footsteps, one must first COUNT THE COST to have any hope of seeing the journey through to the end.

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The Death of Death

Some members of the congregation in Corinth were denying the future bodily resurrection of the righteous. Paul responded by stressing the necessity for it. Moreover, he appealed to the past resurrection of Jesus as the precedent for the coming resurrection of believers from the dead. The followers of the Nazarene will be raised bodily when he “arrives” at the end of the age, an event that will signal the termination of death – DEATH WILL BE NO MORE.

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Emulating Jesus

Jesus admonished his disciples that if anyone wished to come after him, “Let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” This was more than metaphorical or hyperbolic language. It was said at the very time he was on his final journey to Jerusalem where he would demonstrate just what it meant to “take up the cross.”

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