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A disciple is one who learns. It is related to the word ‘discipline’, so a disciple is like a student who is taught by someone. In a disciple’s case, they learn from Jesus.When it came to choosing his disciples, Jesus chose anyone. For example he chose bad-tempered people, tax collectors, and even a member of a violent group.But this didn’t worry Jesus at all. For he saw everyone’s potential. He knew everyone had gifts and talent, and he wanted them to use them. He demonstrated this in the parable of the lamp under the bowl/bed, where he makes the point that you wouldn’t put a lamp under a bowl or a bed, so why hide your talents? Jesus believed that he could bring out the best in these people he chose to be disciples.There were, however, two criteria points to be a disciple. The first was commitment. The disciples had to be willing to do anything for Jesus.Jesus tested this of them when he first called them. He said to Simon and Andrew ‘Come, follow me’, and they immediately left their nets and went to follow Jesus. He also told James and John to follow him, and they went straight away.Another example of commitment in Mark’s Gospel is the Widow at the Treasury. In this story, a poor widow puts all that she has to live on into the temple treasury, while rich people are putting lots of their money in, but only a fraction of their wealth.The story explains how the widow made a huge sacrifice – she was so committed to God that she gave everything she had to him.The second quality one must have to be a disciple is faith. They must believe in Jesus and God, and put their trust into him. A story that expresses faith is the Woman with the Haemorrhage. In this story, a bleeding woman touches Jesus’ cloak because she believes it will heal her. Jesus realises that someone must have touched his cloak, and asks who it was. The woman eventually owns up, but crying and frightened. Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you.’A good example of when the disciples lacked faith is in the Calming of the Storm. Here, the disciples didn’t have full trust in Jesus keeping them safe. When Jesus had calmed the storm he said to his disciples ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’But being a disciple also had its costs. Jesus explained to a crowd that being a disciple was burdensome, and that you had to make sacrifices.A disciple must follow the good examples Jesus set. For instance, before Jesus’ trials and in the Garden of Gethsemane, he knew he was going to be crucified and die, but he just accepted his fate and didn’t put up a fight. This sets an example that to be a good disciple we shouldn’t try to save our life – we should lose it and let the gospel save it.Furthermore, we should follow in Jesus’ footsteps. We should go by his words that he tells his first twelve disciples when he sent them out on a mission. As disciples of God, we should go out and preach the good news of God and spread his word.The twelve disciples weren’t totally perfect though. For example in the Garden of Gethsemane – the disciples disobeyed Jesus by falling asleep when he asked them to stay awake, and as mentioned before in the Calming of the Storm story when the disciples lacked faith. In my opinion, it is good that the disciples had their faults, because it shows Christians today that even though we sin, we can still be forgiven and be good disciples of God.The disciples did make their mistakes, but they later redeemed themselves. For example, Peter sinned tremendously by denying Jesus when his life was at risk, but he made up for it by becoming the first Pope, instead of hiding in pity and guilt which is what we might have done. Also, most of Jesus’ other disciples became martyrs, which means that they died for their faith.Through Marks’s Gospel we learn that discipleship is extremely hard; but it is a learning process that is lifelong.The teaching of Jesus is timeless. It is as relevant today as it was when Jesus first spoke the words. For example, God spoke to Moses on top of Mount Sinai and gave him two tablets with ‘instructions’ or ‘words to live by’, to tell to the Israelites when he had led them out of Egypt. These are known as the Ten Commandments. Now, over 2000 years later, we should follow God’s teachings if we are to be good disciples.At the end of the gospel, Jesus told his disciples to go out and preach to the nations. This is practised today in many ways. One way is simply to go out and preach, just like the first disciples.Another way to preach to the nations is to do missionary work. They not only travel to teach about Jesus, but they also go to places that are suffering from natural disasters, and build schools and medical centres, to help to bring back a community.Furthermore, some people show God’s love for one another by going to help the sick and injured all over the world.Finally, other Christians fight injustice and prejudice because they feel it is right to put others before themselves.All Christians are disciples – they have a responsibility to love God and their neighbour. An example of how this is put into practise is Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She had a vocation to help others. This is what she said:’I realised that I had the call to take care of the sick and the dying, the hungry, the naked, the homeless – to be God’s Love in action to the poorest of the poor.’So Mother Teresa took people off the streets who were dying. After her death in 1997 the Missionaries of Charity, which was the order of nuns that she established, carried on her work throughout the world.Another example is at my school. During Lent, we have a Lenten Campaign. Each school house; Siena, Avila and Lisieux (all named after saints), has a chosen charity. Then, each class must think of and carry out a fundraising event that will raise money. In my form we did an event called ‘Teachers to Celebrities’, where teachers dressed up as different celebrities and paraded down a catwalk. It was a hilarious event, raising over �200, which all went to charity.We live in a society free from persecution, but there are still some places in the world where Christians are persecuted. For instance during the Second World War Jews were put into a concentration camp called Auschwitz by Hitler. Although Judaism is different from Christianity, it is a good example of how people are persecuted for their religion. Christians must be willing to endure this. Some people are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the gospel. An example is Maximillian Kolbe. He was a Polish priest who was put into the concentration camp of Auschwitz. When a prisoner vanished, ten men from the same bunker had to be put into the torture block and be starved to death. Kolbe was not one of the ten. However, when one of the selected men cried out with sorrow to his family, Kolbe offered to take his place. He did this because the man had a family with him, whereas Kolbe didn’t. He felt that he had a lot less to sacrifice than the other man. Maximillian Kolbe died three weeks later of dehydration and starvation.So many Christians still follow Jesus’ teaching, especially by showing their love towards others, and not putting themselves first.In today’s world there are many reasons and distractions that make it very difficult to be a true disciple in today’s world.Firstly, people these days have extremely ‘hectic’ lives. They become self-absorbed, and seem to focus on the unnecessary and materialistic goals in life, for example money and fame. This makes people forget about real and important targets in life, and the proper reason we are alive.What’s more, in the Ten Commandments, God wrote that we should keep the Sabbath day holy – i.e. Sunday. We should dedicate this day totally to Jesus and Our Father. But these days, especially young people, many find going to church ‘boring’, so instead they go out and see friends for example.Moreover, people find it very difficult to believe what is written in the Bible, because either they are simply very unrealistic stories, or science has proved otherwise. For example the Bible teaching that the first human, Adam, was formed out of the ground, is contradicted by science proving that evolution has taken place over millions of years.However, there are still reasons why it is possible to be a true disciple in today’s world.To begin with, if you are prepared to believe in Jesus, then nothing should stop you or prevent you from being a true disciple. Christianity has been going for 2000 years, during that time Christians have been persecuted because of their beliefs. But that didn’t put them off what they believed in – some people were prepared to die for their beliefs, so were therefore martyrs. So in this way we don’t really have an excuse for not being a true disciple, or not believing.Additionally, people today look up to inspirations such as Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King. They aspire to be like them, so are in that way encouraged and enthusiastic to follow Jesus and stand out by helping others or speaking out for what they believe in.Last but not least, nowadays, there are so many methods of communication, be it by phone, email, the media or even instant messaging. This means that it is very easy to spread Jesus’ teachings throughout the world. Just like Jesus sent his first disciples to preach the good news to the nations, it is ten times easier for Christians to do that today.In my opinion, I disagree with the statement. I think it is possible to be a true disciple of Jesus in the modern world. There isn’t a big enough reason for not being a true disciple. If we all tried hard enough and gave up some of our lives into pleasing and serving God, then we could all be disciples of Jesus.

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