Rebukes 4: The disciples rebuked

Posted: October 30, 2012 by J in Bible, Theology

Final part of our survey:

The disciples come in for rebuke, 22:24

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest.  But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors.  But not so with you…

They are starting to talk like the Pharisees, worrying about which of them will have the most honour among men. But they are  instead to go low, to be those who serve.

But the disciples’ more characteristic failing is foolishness. They are also rebuked for sleeping when prayer for rescue was the urgent need, 22:45

When Jesus got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief,  and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

The disciples did not understand the peril, or their need of help, and not understanding, were not equipped to act appropriately for the moment.

The disciples on the road to Emmaus were rebuked, once again for lack of understanding, 24:25

“Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”

They were puzzling over the events of the passover weekend, as though it was some great mystery. Foolish, because all along their Scriptures pointed to the necessity of those events.

When Jesus appeared later on, the disciples thought he was a ghost, 22:37

He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?…45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures…

The disciples were blinded to the teaching of their own Scriptures, that’s why they behaved so foolishly when they saw the risen Jesus. Fear and unbelief – the pair have been characteristic partners since Zechariah was rebuked for them back in ch.1.  The disciples needed this blindness specifically healed.

It is notable that apart from an occasional lapse, the disciples are not rebuked for the same sins as the Pharisees and co. Not for greed or self-righteousness, or lack of compassion. If these are the sins of the bad guys, we might almost say fear and doubt are the sins of the good guys!


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