Vol.XI No.IX Pg.4
November 1974

Failures Of Disciples

Robert F. Turner

When Jesus sent the twelve to introduce the kingdom of heaven he commanded, Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils. . . (Matt. 10:7-f.) But on one occasion they failed in this work.

Lu. 9:40 says, I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. When Jesus had cast out the demon embarrassed disciples asked, Why could not we cast him out? and they were told, This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting. (Mk. 9:28-29) Matthew says Jesus also charged them with unbelief (17:20).

Jesus sought to teach his disciples re. his coming death (Lu. 9:44-f; Mk. 9:30-f.) but they did not understand— language that is very clear to us. And they feared to ask him.

The disciples disputed among themselves who should be greatest, and Jesus had to rebuke them for their lack of humility. (Lu. 9:46-f; Mk. 9:33)

John sought to evade the force of rebuke by telling how he had forbidden one to work miracles in Jesus name because he followeth not with us (Lu. 9:49-f; Mk. 9:38-f.); and Jesus had to further rebuke John for his sectarian spirit. Truth and the promotion of Christs cause are the standards of judgement, not ones social or party relations. John had the cart before the horse.

And then John and James became so indignant because the Samaritans refused to extend hospitality unto the Christ that they suggested, Lets burn them up, or words to that effect. (Lu. 9: 51-56) This just wasnt Johns best day. Jesus rebuked them, saying, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

Now consider carefully! Disciples of the Lord failed repeatedly, and for reasons that may affect our work today. They failed in their work because they lacked dedication. (Faith, prayer, and fasting— a setting aside of time for spiritual matters.) They failed to understand clear teachings of the Lord because preconception or prejudices re. the kingdom blinded their eyes to truth. (Cf. Matt. 16:21-23; Acts 1:6 ;Matt. 13:13-16) They accepted many truths re. the kingdom but that Jesus should be crucified—never!! And such prejudices made it easy for them to fail with respect to the needful humility. Misconceptions concerning the kingdom led them to want to be big shots.

A man could do a miracle, in the name of Christ, to promote the cause of Christ— worthy of no censure from the Lord— but be rejected by John on childish and sectarian grounds: he followeth not us, i.e., does not travel in our party. Then James and John seemed to think they could serve the Lord with a vengeful carnal spirit. They failed to distinguish carnal and spiritual warfare.

If those who walked with the Lord literally, hearing him teach and seeing his wondrous works— if they could fail in these ways, and for these reasons— what about us?? Do we allow a carnal spirit, selfish ambitions, a sectarian concept of church, prejudices, and lack of dedication—to mar our life with FAILURES?