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JoAnn Borovicka

JoAnn's Blog

Welcome to my blog! Here you will find short reflections, connections I've noticed that I'd like to pursue in future research, and various items that have caught my attention related to Bahá'i studies and Christian scholarship.

 

You are welcome to send me your comments at JoAnnBorovicka@gmail.com.

By JoAnn Borovicka, Apr 1 2017 07:45PM

In the Gospel of Mark, a quick search shows at least 17 incidents where the disciples not only misunderstand but also betray, desert, deny, argue, are stricken with fear, and disobey Christ (references below). And what I find most fascinating is that after this long string of disconnects and human failures, in chapter 16 the Risen Christ chastises the disciples for their lack of faith and stubbornness one last time and THEN tells them to “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone.” Mark 16:15


To me, the message becomes something like ‘Pick up your fears, your failures, all of your human weaknesses and go teach the Cause of God anyway. Divine forgiveness and power are greater than human faults.’


In the Tablets of the Divine Plan, when ‘Abdu’l-Baha tells the Baha’is to travel to teach the Faith He refers to Christ’s instructions to His disciples. ‘Abdu’l-Baha states, “It is also mentioned in the Gospel: Travel ye to all parts of the world and give ye the glad tidings of the appearance of the Kingdom of God” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, no. 2.3). The context of that biblical mandate—that it comes to the disciples after a long string of disconnects and epic fails—is, I think, important for Baha’is to keep in mind. When one considers the context of the biblical reference it is like ‘Abdu’l-Baha is saying, ‘With all your fears, failures, and faults, travel to all parts of the world and give the glad tidings anyway. Divine forgiveness and power are greater than human faults.’


Disciples faults and human failures:

1. “Why don’t you understand?” March 4:13

2. “Have you no faith?” Mark 4:40

3. Disciples “hearts are hardened” Mark 6:52

4. Disciples “fail to understand” Mark 7:18

5. “Do you still not perceive or understand?” Their eyes fail to see, ears fail to hear, they don’t

remember, don’t understand, their hearts are hardened, Mark 8:17-18

6. to Peter: “Get thee behind me Satan.” Mark 8:33

7. Disciples don’t understand, are afraid Mark 9:32

8. Chastised for arguing about which disciples is “first” Mark 9:34

9. Jesus indignant when disciples kept children away Mark 10:13-14

10. Disciples are perplexed, blind Mark 10:24

11. Arguing over who will be “first” Mark 10:41

12. Judas betrayal story Mark 14:10

13. Christ to disciples: “You will all become deserters.” Mark 14:27

14. Disciples failed to stay awake in Garden 3 times, Mark 14:34-41

15. All of the disciples “deserted Him and fled.” Mark 14:50

16. Peter denies Christ 3 x, Mark 14:66-72

17. Peter and others “would not believe” the reality of the Risen Christ, Mark 16:11-13

18. The Risen Christ chastises the disciples for their lack of faith and stubbornness Mark 16:14