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From the editor: Things the disciples discussed

J Grant

Often the disciples listened to the words of the Lord Jesus - always an invaluable practice. However, there are a number of occasions when we learn of conversations which the disciples had among themselves. Let us for a few moments look at Mark's account and consider some of the issues about which they deliberated.

They discussed the greatness of the Lord Jesus (4.41). It had been a day of teaching a "great multitude" and at the end of the day the Lord had sent the multitude away (v.36). The disciples were learning from the experiences of the work of the Lord among them as He instructed them. Now He says, "Let us pass over unto the other side" (v.35), and as they sailed over the Sea of Galilee He slept in the hinder part of the boat. But the waves beat into the ship and the circumstances were such that the boat was "already filled" (JND). As the disciples realised their inadequacies, fear gripped them. They called Him to save them, using the plaintive words, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" (v.38). The disciples may have had faith for yesterday and perhaps for tomorrow, but not for today. When they called, "Master", it was the word "teacher" that they were using, and that day they would be taught the authority of Him who controls the wind and the seas. They discussed His greatness as they asked, in wonder, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?".

They displayed their ignorance (8.14-21). They acted with bewilderment that they had forgotten to bring bread as "they reasoned among themselves". Some of them may have considered that if the Lord could feed the thousands there was no need for them to take bread. Others probably had an undue concern about the fact that they had omitted to take bread. The error was their failure to understand what He was saying. They may have felt that He was commending them because they had not bought bread from the place where Pharisees and Herodians were. But they were unable to learn lessons from what the Lord had done before them. They knew the facts and the feeding of five thousand and also four thousand who had come unable to feed themselves, therefore could not the Lord feed His twelve?

They debated His teaching (9.10). What a privilege the disciples had in listening to the teaching of the greatest instructor that has ever been heard. They acted with interest, and debate was a feature of discipleship. There was no shortage of matters for consideration. "When could Peter, James and John tell the others what they had seen", or, "When will the rising from the dead take place", or exactly what did the Master mean by these words: "tell no man…till the Son of Man were risen from the dead" (v.9). Today it is vital to listen to the Scriptures taught, to discuss them, to consider them, and to read them ourselves.

They disputed regarding position (9.33-37). When the Lord arrived at Capernaum He asked them, "What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?". They had acted with ambition, the source of this thought pattern. This was how Satan thought. He would ascend and be like the Most High (Is 14.14). The desire to be greatest is one of the most potent forces in the human breast. The obstinacy of the thought is clear. The remarkable thing is that this attitude of mind remained with them right up to the Upper Room. The sacred atmosphere of the room was marked by their idle conjectures. The disciples were not pleased with James and John when they brought their plea to the Lord to sit on His right hand and His left hand. The seed of discord is sown, not by us doing the work which we are fitted of God to do, but by our ambition to have place. The words of the Lord are telling: "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all" (v.35).

Today we have the full Word of God, which is of inestimable worth, to read daily. May we seek to learn from it so that we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


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