Learning Like a Disciple

S (Scripture): Mark 9:15 When the whole crowd saw Jesus, they were amazed and ran at once and greeted him. 16 He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 A member of the crowd said to him, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that makes him mute. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they were not able to do so.” 19 He answered them, “You unbelieving generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I endure you? Bring him to me.” 20 So they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell on the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Then Jesus said to him, “‘If you are able?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the boy cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

25 Now when Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 It shrieked, threw him into terrible convulsions, and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus gently took his hand and raised him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 Then, after he went into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” 29 He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

O (Observation): Today’s focus is on how the disciples are learning from Jesus.   The miracle healing is indeed significant, and yet what intrigues me today is the manner in which Jesus teaches and mentors the disciples.   

The disciples (at least the 12) literally follow Jesus every step of the way.  He teaches them through sermons / lectures, but he also calls on them to live out the teachings.  

Lectures / Apprenticeship / Immersion

Here, they are in the apprenticeship / immersion stages.   The disciples are enacting what’s been taught to them: how to pray and exorcise demons.   Except…there is this one.   

They ask Jesus, their mentor, “Why couldn’t we cast this one out?”  

You can almost see Jesus casually shrug his shoulders and saying, “Oh yeah, that one … well, with that one you need fasting and prayer before you deal with it.”

This is what apprenticeship looks and feels like.

[Breen, Mike & Steve Cockram. Building a Discipling Culture. 2011.]

A (Application): Today, most of us stay stuck in the classroom model for teaching discipleship.  This is most comfortable, yet brings the least amount of change.  We like our lives the way they are, thank you very much.  

We even think that teaching about prayer is enough, but rarely invite our people to believe that we have the power that Jesus has given to us to heal others.  

And rarely do we engage in apprenticeships and mentoring.  We think: we’re not good enough, don’t have the time, don’t have the skills needed.  Sounds like the 12 who Jesus called on to follow him.  They immersed themselves in Jesus’ presence, anyway. 

Somehow, those 12 then taught others.   They then taught others.  

Are we passing on the faith?  Are we helping our people to know ABOUT God?  Or to know God?

I know that the Spirit wants to change me.  Sure, I get sidetracked.  We all do.  

How about you?  What does the Spirit want for you?

P (Prayer): Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!  Amen. 


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