‘Living as a Christian disciple in today’s world is nowhere near as challenging as when Jesus recruited his first followers.’ Essay
Do you agree? Give reasons to support your answer and show you have thought about different points of view.At the time when Jesus was around there were many Christian disciples. They could be split up into two groups. One group would be the specific twelve and the second group would be everyone else who chose to be a follower. At present day there are many groups of Christian disciples not just two. These disciples can be grouped by how dedicated they want to be towards God. The word ‘challenging’ in the statement can have two meanings. A positive meaning, the challenge to be a disciple, fulfilling the obligations of discipleship, and a negative meaning, facing difficulties, opposition and hardship. It could also mean a challenge to grow in spirituality and a relationship with God.Some would argue that it was easier at Jesus’ time to live as a Christian disciple as you were with Jesus the person who started the whole faith off. You were living amongst the founder of the religion. You were able to witness the miracles he performed. For example, when Jesus feeds five thousand people, Luke 9 vs.10. Most people would only believe things if they could see them with their own eyes and this was happening, so more and more people followed Jesus. People would also rely on Jesus and they have a closer bond with him as he was there with them so this made it easier. Their relationship with God was growing spiritually.There are those who would argue that it was more difficult at Jesus’ time because he was trying to introduce a new religion in a world where things were more traditional and where the people were not willing to accept change and new things. In those days if you were not Jewish then you were looked down on, you had a lower status. Yet Jesus was promoting this idea of a new faith, which is not Judaism, which made it harder for him. It was also much more difficult at that time, as Jesus originally was Jewish and now he was using beliefs and principles from Judaism and changing them to create this new faith.He was basically encouraging people to convert to Christianity from Judaism. This obviously angered the Jewish priests. They said he no right to take their principles and change them. They were very insulted by this. To show their anger they would give out punishments, usually death. Back then it was less civil. This frightened people and so they refused to follow. People were too afraid of the consequences to support Jesus. They preferred to follow the crowd, the majority, instead of being a part of the minority. As well as all of this the disciples had nowhere to practice this new religion. There were no churches then. In addition there were no scriptures written to follow, no bible. Therefore preaching would have to be passed by word of mouth and this can change concepts.A few of Jesus’ disciples showed they were not true followers hence not faithful disciples because one of the disciples, Judas, told the Jewish priests where Jesus was praying, Luke 22 vs.47, so that they could arrest him, in return Judas received money. Judas betrayed Jesus, which showed his lack of commitment. Also when Jesus was taken to the house of the high priest, Luke 22 vs.54, many people asked Peter another disciple, whether he knew Jesus but Peter simply disowned Jesus and denied the fact that he knew him. If Peter had said he knew Jesus then he would also have been punished. He would have been risking his life. Overall it was hard then, as the faith was not yet established.Some would agree with the statement, saying that it is less challenging now compared to back then at Jesus’ time. Today there is a bible, which has the faith, documented in it, so people will have something to guide them throughout life. Now it is an established religion. It is one of the biggest religions in the world. As there are a big number of people in it, more and more people follow Christianity. People have a reason to believe in Christianity from the examples of suffering portrayed by Jesus in the bible. If you are a Christian today then you are not looked down on or punished. You don’t have to suffer for what you believe in, as it is more civilized now.People can still be Christians and lead a normal life, with a family and a career of their choice, free of suffering. Not a lot of emphasis is made on spreading the word of God as it is already spread. If you wanted to spread the word it is much easier now as there are more resources available, e.g. newspapers, internet, radio, television. Modern disciples have more freedom of choice now, of the amount of dedication they are willing to give towards God. At present day society does not frown upon those less religious than others. As Jesus was originally Jewish, people today are usually born into the religion, as their descendents were Christians. As the faith is already recognized, by following it you are not going against any religion so people do not get angry. Today people have more freedom.There are those who would argue that it is more difficult today to live as a Christian disciple. Their reasons are that now day’s people lead much busier lives. They do not have enough time to spare, to think about God. At Jesus’ time society would have expected you to have a religion but today society does not expect anything from you, therefore people are less inclined to be religious. Religion is seen as being outdated by many people. Because of this, people are embarrassed to say they believe in a faith or that they are disciples.People care more about what people think about them rather than what they really want to do. Also as science is advancing more, day by day, scientists find logical answers to the miracles, which Jesus performed. As a result there is less evidence about the faith hence more people find it harder to accept the stories. The parables told and written down in the Bible have an old fashioned style. People read them and find them hard to interpret. They try to match them up with their situation and surroundings but find it difficult. For example the parable about the Sower, Luke 8 vs. 1.There are people who are trying to spread the word of God. They are usually in town and the public sees them as crazy because they are shouting teachings from the Bible. Then people get put off by seeing this and prefer not to be part of the faith. Also Priests are quite unhappy with the attendance that is present at church every Sunday. Today in general religion takes a backseat in life. People today will never have a relationship as close with God as the people back then did because he was with hem then and now people can only rely on the New Testament.In my opinion, I agree with the statement that living as Christian disciple at Jesus’ time was more challenging compared to today because Jesus was trying to introduce a brand new faith where as now it is already well known. Jesus was a very brave man because for his actions he faced harsh consequences, e.g. death. It is impossible to measure how challenging it was back then compared to now. Today less effort is required to be a Christian. People are not looked down on if they are not Jewish as now we live in a more civilized society today, where there are people of many different faiths living together. No one takes notice of how much dedication you give towards God. So you have more freedom now in comparison to back at that time.