Summary: A disciple imitates the example of Jesus and follows the instructions of Jesus regardless of the interruptions from the world.
What is a disciple, Part One
If nothing else, this has been a season where we’ve had to learn some new definitions. There are words and phrases that were absolutely meaningless two months ago, and now they are part of our everyday vocabulary. For example: social distancing. If you had asked me two months ago what social distancing was, I would have said “Easy—middle school.” Or “The night of senior prom.”
PPE: there’s another one. Personal Protective Equipment. Who knew what that was before this crisis.
Six weeks ago, how many of you knew what a Zoom call was? Me neither.
Other terms have completely changed their meanings in the last six weeks:
Televangelist. All of a sudden, every pastor is a televangelist. And by the same token, every parent is now a homeschooler.
Another word that has changed its meaning is church. As that video pointed out “Go to church” has been replaced by “Go BE the church.” And “discipleship” is no longer one more program on a church calendar of events. It’s not what happens on Sunday nights before the evening worship service.
And I want to suggest during our time together today that that’s a good thing. The truth is, church was never supposed to be something we went to. Instead, it was supposed to be something we were.
Discipleship was never supposed to be a program. It was supposed to be a process. And so today, we are going to look at Mark chapter 6, and drill down on what it says about what it means to be a disciple. Everything we talk about today, everything we look at in Mark 6, is going to be based on this definition of the word disciple. If you printed off today’s talking points you can fill in the blanks, or you can just write it down, but this definition is the sermon. Are you ready? What is a disciple?
A disciple is someone who imitates the example of Jesus and follows the instructions of Jesus without getting disrupted by the world.
And so let’s look at how Mark fleshes this out in chapter 6. I’m not going to read the entire chapter, because there’s so many things that happen in this chapter. But I’d like us to focus in on verses 1-13. So please read this with me:
6 He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4 And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5 And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.
7 And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He charged 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 put on two tunics.[a] 10 And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11 And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
There are lots and lots of things that happen in Mark 6. Just a quick glance at the paragraph heading shows us what a packed chapter this is:
• Jesus gets rejected (v. 1-6)
• The disciples get sent out (v. 7-13)
• John the Baptist gets beheaded (vs. 14-29)
• 5000 people get fed (v. 30-43)
• The disciples get in a boat, and Jesus walks on water (45-51) [we’ll talk about this next week]
• Gentiles in Gennesaret get healed (53-56)
And you might be wondering, ok, cool stories, bro, but what does this have to do with being a disciple?
One of the incredible benefits of teaching through a single book of the Bible, and especially one of the four gospels, is that it forces you to pay attention to what that gospel writer emphasizes. What makes his account different from the other three? What does he include? What does he leave out? If you’ve been studying God’s word for awhile, you may know the phrase “synoptic gospels,” which is a scholars term for Matthew, Mark, and Luke: “synoptic” means “one view” and Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell pretty much the same story of the events of Jesus’ life in the same order. John is very different, so you have the “synoptic” or “one view” gospels, and then you have John. So in the case of Mark 6, every All three synoptic gospels include all the events of Mark 6 in one place or another.