What can the world offer apart from Jesus’ call to discipleship, taking up your cross

This is a quote by Thomas a Kempis about imitating Jesus.

A disciple is a follower, a supporter and a believer. The twelve disciples are a key part in our Christian faith as they continued Jesus’ work. Discipleship is also an extremely important theme throughout Marks gospel. A disciple is someone who learns from a religious leader and who wishes to live their life according to their leaders wishes and commands. The disciples were called to do three main things.To be Jesus’ companion throughout his lifetime and to support him in what he did, to preach the word of God and the life of Jesus Christ his son, and to cast out demons from those who had faith.

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These are shown in Marks gospel (Mk6; 7-13) Jesus told them how to behave and asked them to be modest and humble. They were not to carry extra belongings or ask for any money. “Don’t take anything with you on your journey except a stick – no bread, no beggars bag….

….. Wherever you are welcomed stay in the same house until you leave that place.They were also told to give the message only to those that wanted to hear it.

“If you come to a town where people do not welcome you or will not listen to you, leave it and shake the dust off your feet. ” Jesus chose ordinary people who where part of the local community. Fishermen, civil servants, tax collectors – all members of the community including the outcasts. Jesus did not choose wealthy or influential men to be his disciples, in fact at first glance his choice seems rather strange.

Matthew was an outcast, a tax collector hated by the Jews because of his work for the Romans. He had to leave behind a stable job for a life that promised no material comforts. Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen who were used to living a difficult life. They also left behind families, friends and the lifestyles they were accustomed to. Simon was a member of the Zealots who were a violent group that fought against the roman occupation of Palestine. He too was an unlikely choice for Jesus’ group.These choices tell us that Jesus was able to see beyond people’s faults and tell whether or not their hearts were pure. This gives the Christians of today hope that God will look beyond their sins and see the person inside.

Disciples are not just the twelve people whom Jesus called to drop everything and follow him. There were many other disciples of Jesus then, and there are many disciples of Jesus today. In fact we are all called to be disciples of Jesus from the moment we are baptised. We learn in Marks gospel that there were many gentiles who became followers of Christ.For example the man with the evil spirits. When Jesus had healed him he asked to come with him and follow him.

However Jesus said no and told him what to do. “The man left and went all through the Ten Towns, telling what Jesus had done for him” (Mk5; 20) Jesus explains to us that to be a good disciple, following his commandments is not enough. This point is shown in detail in the story of the rich young man. “Go sell everything you have and give the money to the poor..

…. Then come follow me”(Mk10; 17-31)He tells us that money is an obstacle in the life of a true disciple, which would have been the opposite of Jewish teachings at the time. True discipleship cannot be done in a half-hearted way.

To Christians it means giving all that they have in the service of God and other people. This is shown in the story of the Widows Offering. Here a woman who gives very little is giving more than all of the rich men put together.

This is because God knows she has made the biggest sacrifice and therefore has given up more of herself to follow Jesus.

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