Summary: Practically every one of the Apostles, including Paul, is pictured as being wrong in an argument at some point. The 3 best known are specifically mentioned as being out of God's will in their attitudes toward others.

It is not without good reason that many people say they never

argue about politics or religion. The ignorance and intolerance of

men in relation to these subjects is such that they almost always

lead to contention and anger rather than helpfulness and

understanding. The average person, who does not delight in

verbal wrangling, and who does not enjoy seeing what he feels to

be precious dragged through the mud of controversy, feels that the

best thing to do is just be quiet. The ignorance with which men

attack brothers in Christ is almost unbelievable, and if we did not

have examples of the same foolishness in the Bible we could easily

be led to doubt their salvation. Some have not only admitted their

ignorance, but have bragged about it. One such man said to John

Wesley, "I thank God for my ignorance." Wesley simply

responded that he certainly had much to be thankful for.

Contention has characterized Christianity from its

conception. This may sound like an awful thing to say about those

who claim to follow the Prince of Peace, but it needs to be said and

understood, for the Bible both portrays it and predicts it.

Practically every one of the Apostles, including Paul, is pictured as

being wrong in an argument at some point. The 3 best known are

specifically mentioned as being out of God's will in their attitudes

toward others. Peter, Paul and John were all wrong at some

point. Peter was wrong in his attitude toward Gentiles, and God

had to rebuke him and teach him that Gentiles were not unclean,

but equal with Jews in His plan of salvation. Paul had to rebuke

Peter for his narrowness.

Paul in turn was in a controversy with Barnabas over John

Mark, who was the author of the Gospel of Mark. Paul did not

think he was a fit person to travel with them on a missionary

journey, but Barnabas was willing to give him another chance

even though he failed on the first try. Paul did not agree and

would not give in, and so they split up and Barnabas took Mark

with him. Mark proved himself to be a loyal servant of Christ,

and later Paul received him as his fellow servant in the Lord. Paul

was wrong, and if he had gotten his way we may never have had

the Gospel of Mark. John was wrong on several occasions. He

was one of the quick tempered sons of thunder who was ready to

call down fire from heaven to destroy those who did not respond

as he thought they should. He is the one in our text who hindered

a man from doing good because he was not following with them.

The disciples had defects, and the Bible does not attempt to

hide them, but openly reveals them that we might recognize the

dangers of pride, ignorance and selfish ambition. They are real

for all of us, even as children and saints of God. Their defects are

recorded that we might learn how to more quickly arrive at the

goal of Christ-likeness by avoiding their mistakes. To learn the

hard way by going through the same experiences, causing the

same problems, and needing the same rebukes, rather than

heeding the Word of God is one of the Christians greatest sins.

We are going to examine the defects of the disciples, and not that

we might gloat at their weaknesses, but that we might avoid them

and be less defective in our discipleship. Our text indicates two

reasons why they were defective disciples.


Here was a group of men who were going to be used of God to

change the course of history. Three of them had just seen the

deity of Christ displayed in his transfiguration, and yet they are

arguing like a group of immature boys over who has the strongest

father. They were debating as to who of them was going to be the

greatest. There was certainly no lack of pride among them, for

each apparently felt he had some good claim to be the greatest

among them. It is difficult for the Holy Spirit to led men to higher

ground when they are already convinced that they are the king of

the mountain. The whole thing could have been avoided if they

had not been so ignorant about what true greatness is in the sight

of God. Their ignorance on this, and on the plan of Christ led

them into this foolish dispute.

Jesus was heading for the cross, and here they are debating

about who will wear the crown. They expected Jesus to set up an

earthly kingdom and make them the rulers of the world. Not

everyone, of course, could be equal, and so there was a power

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