1:16-20 – Jesus encounters Simon & Andrew; James & John:
As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea--for they were fishermen. / And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." / And immediately they left their nets and followed him.
As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. / Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
2:14 – Jesus encounters Levi, a Tax Collector
As he was walking along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
3:13-19 – Jesus calls & appoints twelve “apostles” to be sent out (somewhat later)
He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him./ And he appointed twelve, [whom he also named apostles], to be with him, andto be sent out to proclaim the message, / and to have authority to cast out demons. / So he appointed the twelve: [here follows the list of 12 names]
Note: Jesus does not actually "send out" these twelve until 6:7-13, a mission from which these "apostles" return in 6:30.
Other references to "the twelve" in Mark:
4:10 – When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables.
6:7 – He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
9:35 – He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." [see the 2nd Passion prediction below]
10:32 – They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, [see the 3rd Passion prediction below]
11:11 – Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
14:10 – Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
14:17 – [The Last Supper]: When it was evening, he came with the twelve.
14:20 – [Predicting Judas' betrayal]: He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me..."
14:43 – [At Gethsemane]: Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.
Question: Were "the twelve" always with Jesus? Were they the only disciples faithful to Jesus?
More uses of “call/follow/behind” in Mark's Gospel:
Disciples & crowds follow Jesus:
2:15-17 - And as he sat at dinner in Levi's house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples--for there were many who followed him... "I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."
Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him;
3:23 - And he called them [scribes] to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?..."
5:24 - So he went with him [Jairus]. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
6:1 - He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.
7:14 - Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand..."
8:1-2 - In those days when there was again a great crowd without anything to eat, he called his disciples and said to them, / "I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat...."
8:34 - He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."
10:32a - They [disciples] were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid...
10:42 - So Jesus called them [the twelve] and said to them... [see "instructions on discipleship" below]
11:9 - Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
12:43 - Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury..."
(with James & John)
1:38 - [Jesus tells Simon & his companions]: "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do."
5:37 - [Entering Jairus' house]: He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
8:33b - [Jesus] rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan!"
10:28 - Peter began to say to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you."
14:54 - Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
A woman with a flow of blood
5:27 - She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak...
9:38-40 - John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." / But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. / Whoever is not against us is for us."
A rich man (10:17-22)
10:21 - Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
10:49 - Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you."
10:52 - Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
A young man at Gethsemane
14:51-52 - A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, / but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
Galilean Women at the Cross (15:40-41)
15:40-41 - There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. / These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
See also the frequent use of “disciple” (46 times) and “way/road” in Mark (1:2-3; 2:23; 6:8; 8:3, 27; 9:33-34; 10:17, 32; 10:46, 52; 11:8; 12:14).
II) Missioning & Sending:
apostelein = to send out
hypagein = to go
Note: Not only the apostles are "sent out" by Jesus or told to "go" on a specific mission in Mark's Gospel. Several other characters also are.
The cleansed leper (1:40-45)
44 "See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
The Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20)
18 As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 But Jesus refused, and said to him, "Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you." 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.
The twelve apostles (6:7-13)
He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them." 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
The blind man at Bethsaida (8:22-26)
26 Then he sent him away to his home, saying, "Do not even go into the village."
Two disciples sent to obtain a colt for Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem (11:1-7)
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples / and said to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it...."
Parable of the Wicked Tenants: Sending servants & a beloved son (12:1-12)
Then he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 7 But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard..."
Two disciples sent to prepare the Last Supper (14:12-16)
13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him..."
The women at the empty tomb (16:1-8)
7 "But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
[Note: Verses 9-20 were added decades later by another author/editor.]
Note: Since apostelein is a very common Greek verb, other characters are also "sent out" in other contexts within Mark's Gospel:
The opening quotation from the OT mentions God sending a messenger (1:2)
Jesus mother and brothers send [someone] to call him (3:31)
A "Legion" of demons ask Jesus not to send them out of the area (5:10)
Herod [Antipas] sent guards to arrest John the Baptist, and to execute him (6:17, 27)
Jesus alludes to himself being sent by God (9:37)
The chief priests send some Pharisees and Herodians to debate with Jesus (12:13)
God will sent out angels on the day of the Son of Man (13:27)
III) Explicit Instructions on Discipleship:
8:34-38 (after the 1st Passion prediction)
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."
9:33-37 (after the 2nd Passion prediction)
35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me."
38 John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." 39 But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 Whoever is not against us is for us. 41 For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
42 "If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48 where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
49 "For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another."
10:35-45 (after the 3rd Passion prediction)
37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." 38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" 39 They replied, "We are able." Then Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42 So Jesus called them and said to them, "You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Various other teachings related to discipleship:
Leave everything to follow Jesus (10:28-30)
Keep awake and pray (14:32-42)
IV) The MIS-understandings and failures of Jesus’ Disciples:
Main texts recounting the failures of the disciples:
They fail to understand Jesus’ parables (only Mark 4:13; cf. Matt 13:16-17, 51)
Talking with Jesus in the boat, they don't understand what he means (Mark 8:14-21; cf. Matt 16:5-12; Luke 12:1)
After the first Passion prediction, Peter rebukes Jesus, who in turn rebukes Peter (Mark 8:32-33)
They are unable to perform an exorcism (Mark 9:14-29; cf. Matt 17:14-20; Luke 9:37-43a)
After the second Passion prediction, the disciples argue about which of them is "greatest" (Mark 9:33-34)
After the third Passion prediction, James and John ask for "seats of honor" (Mark 10:35-40)
Judas betrays Jesus to the authorities (Mark 14:10-11, 18-21, 41-46)
Peter denies even knowing Jesus (Mark 14:29-31, 66-72)
All the disciples run away after Jesus is arrested (Mark 14:50-52; cf. 14:27)
The women leave the empy tomb in fear and silence (Mark 16:8)
Texts in which the disciples' reactions in Mark are recounted more negatively than in the other Gospels:
The disciples “pursue” or “hunt for” Jesus (only Mark 1:36)
They are afraid during a storm and are reproached for lacking faith (only Mark 4:40; cf. Luke 8:25)
After Jesus walks on water, they don’t understand about the loaves; their hearts are hardened (only Mark 6:52; cf. Matt 14:28-32)
They have eyes that don’t see and ears that don’t hear (only Mark 8:18-19; cf. Matt 16:12)
[The disciples don’t believe the resurrection witnesses: Mark 16:13, 14, 16]
V) Role Models, esp. for Faith/Belief:
pisteuein = to believe/trust
Paralytic & his friends (2:1-12)
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
Jairus & a Bleeding Woman (5:21-43)
22 Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23 and begged him repeatedly, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live."
34 He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease."
35 While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader's house to say, "Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?" 36 But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, "Do not fear, only believe."
Townsfolk in Nazareth (6:1-6a)
5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief...
Syro-Phoenician Woman (7:24-30)
25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 28 But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." 29 Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go-- the demon has left your daughter."
Deaf-Mute in the Decapolis (7:31-37)
32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him...
Blind Man at Bethsaida (8:22-26)
22 They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him...
Father of an epileptic (9:14-27)
22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us." 23 Jesus said to him, "If you are able!-- All things can be done for the one who believes." 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief!"
28 When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" 29 He said to them, "This kind can come out only through prayer."
Blind Bartimaeus (10:46-52)
46 They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49 Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." 50 So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." 52 Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Withered fig tree (11:20-25)
20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 Then Peter remembered and said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered." 22 Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses." (cf. Matt 6:14-15)
Widow with Mite/Might (12:41-44)
41 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."
Don’t believe false prophets (13:21-22)
21 "And if anyone says to you at that time, 'Look! Here is the Messiah!' or 'Look! There he is!'-- do not believe it. 22 False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect."
Woman who anoints Jesus' head (14:3-9)
3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4 But some were there who said to one another in anger, "Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they scolded her. 6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish [cf. Deut 15:11]; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her."
VI) Who Are the Best Role Models for Discipleship in Mark’s Gospel?
“Main” disciples: Why does Mark protray them so negatively overall?
“Minor” disciples: Which of them function as the most positive role models?
What is Mark trying to say to the Christian community of Rome (late 60's)?
What can Mark still say to Christians today, esp. those not experiencing "persecution"?