The Disciples Didn’t Get It

Aziz Ansari is hilarious. My favorite joke of his is about an interaction Aziz saw of rapper 50 Cent ordering a grapefruit soda thinking it was a grape soda (note that the end of the video clip is NSFW.) Here is my favorite excerpt:

And the exchange was just glorious – the waiter struggling to explain the concept of a grapefruit to a man who just didn’t get it.

Waiter: No you don’t understand they are two different things. Grape, grapefruit. Grape, grapefruit.

50 Cent: I know grapes are fruits, why do you keep saying it like that?

Waiter: No it’s just one word, grapefruit. You know, it’s one, it’s a different…

50 Cent: I get it. Grape-fruit, apple-fruit, orange-fruit, carrot-vegetable.

Waiter: No that’s not it at all.

As silly and unbelievable as this is (the interaction has been denied by 50 Cent), it’s representative of what took place in the gospel of Mark.  Three times Jesus told his disciples that he was going to die and rise again, and three times the disciples didn’t get it.

Part 1

And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:31-34

Part 2

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. Mark 9:30-32

 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Part 3

And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” Mark 10:32-34

And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45

How frustrated must Jesus have been ? From our perspective, their three reactions are laughable.

First Peter rebukes Jesus! (Can you imagine rebuking Jesus, the same Jesus you just confessed to be the Christ?) Jesus rightfully rebukes Peter right back and calls him Satan. The second time they were too afraid to ask what Jesus meant, and the third time, there is no acknowledgment of what Jesus says but instead, two of them ask to have the seats of honor next to Jesus.

The disciples didn’t get it.

That is until Easter, right? Surely after the resurrection, it made sense?

Part 4

And entering the tomb, [Mary and Mary] saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:5-8

Here the women didn’t get it either! Even after they are reminded that Jesus predicted this, they ran away trembling and afraid.

The earliest manuscripts of Mark’s gospel account end here with the women running away confused and afraid. Why would Mark end it like this?

Mark chapter 1 verse 1 tells us.

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1

Mark’s account is the beginning of the gospel. He intentionally didn’t end his account with a happily ever after. The gospel account isn’t like Lord of the Rings where after reading it, the reader walks away having enjoyed a fun story. No, the gospel account continues with the reader. Those closest to Jesus didn’t understand his death and resurrection. Do you?

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