The introduction of Mark’s gospel introduced Jesus as the “Son of God” being testified by John the Baptist as the ONE who is coming Mark 1: 2, 3. John referring to Jesus pointed out “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and unite” Chapter 1: 7, when Jesus came to him for baptism. In verse 14, and 15 Mark emphasized that Jesus’ Mission was to proclaim the good news of God and to preach repentance and the coming kingdom of God. It was for this purpose that Jesus appointed twelve disciples trained them, delegated them, and expects them to do the task He assigned them to do.
What Jesus Expect of those who call themselves or are called to be Disciples Based on the profiles of the disciples, most them if not all were fishermen which suggest that they were less educated or probably uneducated individuals. They were mostly men with family except probably of apostle John who was then relatively young. In Jesus’ selection of the first two disciples (Peter and Andrew), He manifested his purpose outright. In Mark 1:17 calling Simon and Andrew, Jesus said, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
” In this statement, Jesus laid down two expectations of these men, one, he expects them to follow him. Second, he expects them to believe his intention. In these two expectations the whole principles of Christian faith and obedience to God’s words are being laid down beginning from the apostles down to the present generation of Christianity. Why Jesus does expect these men to follow him? This question arouses interest because it was only the first time that he met those men. Jesus was a carpenter by profession and it was only the beginning of his mission.
The Bible noted that they left their father and followed Jesus since then. The next batch of disciples, which were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also expected by Jesus to follow him. According to David Noel Freedman (2000) Jesus accepted John the Baptist preaching that the “day of God’s judgment was at hand” (Freedman 2000, p. 703). Jesus then gathered twelve disciples representing the twelve tribes of Israel and proclaimed that the kingdom of God has arrived. Marks introduction of Jesus reflects their knowledge of Jesus, which made them eager to follow him.
Based on this prior knowledge, Jesus expected that Peter, Andrew, James, and John and the rest of His disciples to follow Him and to believe Him. In the course of their training with Jesus, he reveals deeper expectation of the disciples. He now expects them to not only follow Him, but also to stick to his teaching even in the midst of persecution on account of Him Mark 13: 23. Jesus in advance told them everything that might happen soon to Him, and to the disciples themselves and manifested His expectation that they will stick with Him and in His teaching no matter how hard or difficult is their situation.
He emphasized that God through the Holy Spirit will help them and will supply what they have to say when they are being interrogated. Further expectation was emphasized by Jesus to his disciples after His resurrection. In Mark 16: 14, he rebuked his disciples for not believing his words, for not believing what he has told them in advance. Jesus expects them to believe in him, to believe his teaching, and to preach his teachings. This expectation was later emphasized in chapter 16: 15 and in some parts of the New Testament particularly in the book of Matthew and Acts.
How Realistic are those Expectation are for Christians Today The reality of those expectations for Christians today is that it seemed it is hard to follow. In Jesus time, life was simple and the interests of people were also simple. People were used to the conservative cultures and the prevailing norms of the society were not as complicated as now. In other words, it was not so difficult to adapt a new cultural orientation except probably when the new culture is against their knowledge about their religion, an example to this was the Roman’s and Greek’ religions.
In today’s Christianity we are confronted with complexity of cultures, complexity of choices, and all factors that weakens everyone’s moral and religious conviction. Although this may not be a valid justification but it clearly reveals that most of the expectations of Jesus, is no longer realistic to the present Christianity, because of such complexities and factors affecting the everyday lives. It cannot be denied that even religious leaders and those who are deeply committed in their faith fell in to temptations.
Today’s Christian society had adapted some of the cultures that had not been acceptable during Jesus’ time, such as divorce, self-centeredness, and hypocrisy. These things whether one would admit or not, has been practiced or had been done by many Christians today. But certainly, those expectation are realistic, in other words, it can be followed. It can be obeyed. Indeed, those are the norms that God wants all that believe Him to observe. Jesus still expects today’s Christian to follow Him, to believe in His words, to preach his words. It is realistic for all people of all generations.
They are eternal and it unites all people to Him, making everyone equal regardless of colors, race, education, and social status. It only takes one to truly believed Jesus to realize the reality of Jesus expectation to Christianity today. The New Testament emphasized that Jesus is the same Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, and apostle John quoted Jesus saying “I Am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End” Revelation chapter 21: 6 emphasizing that God’s expectation is not at all obsolete. Conclusion From the way it looks, there are now many differences that separate the New Testament times to the present generation of Christianity.
This maybe true as the world is getting more highly modern in lifestyle, in culture, and in technology, which all adds comfort and convenience in the everyday life. However, no matter how the world transformed it self, God who was, who is, and who will, still directs the course of the existence of everything including human being. We are responsible to Him of our actions, of our thoughts and of our motives. He does not force us to do exactly what he expects us, he does not force us to believe Him, and, He does not force us to follow him though he expects us to do all these things, but He promised He will judge each one based on His own words.
Jesus expectation is still realistic, but many Christian simply chooses what is more comfortable to follow and disobey and reject those, which are difficult ones. Self sacrifice and faithfulness in their faith has been compromised with the comforts of life and to materialism and individualism.
Bible New International version Freedman, D. (2000) Eerdsman Dictionary of the Bible. UK: Wm B. Eerdsmans Publishing..