As I read Mark 9 my overwhelming thought is, "Being a disciple is hard." Due to the fact that most of us in the Western world strive for perfection and excellence we view the disciples in that light. It can be very easy to see the disciples and a group of inept, uneducated, dense people who don't seem to get the program. I mean it is plain to see, it is right there in scripture what it is to follow and who Jesus is. Big problem, the disciples did not have the New Testament to read, they were too busy being the characters. Not to mention the things Jesus was leading them to do were not easy things. He asked followers to give up their lives that they might gain. He asked the to make sense of hearing the voice of God. Jesus asked them to face crowds of people demanding miraculous works. In the top challenge Jesus was asking the disciple not to simply believe, but to pattern their very lives after him, the long awaited Messiah. No one had ever been down that road before.
The disciples come off as a pretty challenged group. Yet I wonder if I would have, or am, functioned any different. it is easy for me to lob shots at the disciples for not getting it. But do I. When I experience a hard teaching from Jesus, do I respond that differently than the disciples. You know this disciple thing really is hard. For those living in the ever increasing Western world, we have many messages which fill out days and minds which are counter-Gospel. We can have fast food our way right away, we are to look out for ourselves because no one else is going to. The art of delayed gratification is all but a lost art. To follow Jesus, to live like we have been called is hard work. We are asked to understand and follow things this world considers foolish. We are to humble ourselves and let others move ahead. Tough stuff.
In the end, I am not sure the disciples are all that different than we are. A group of anybodies, doing their best to follow Jesus. Sometimes we reflect the teacher well, sometimes we reflect how much more we have to learn.