Posted in Discipleship

Eyewitnesses

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses

Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet
Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

In Mark’s Gospel Peter is always in some sense aligned with the other disciples. But he does not appear purely as a typical or representative disciple. In this narrative role he is at the same time typical and more than typical of the other disciples. It is within his commonality with the others that he emerges as a distinctive individual, the most fully characterized of all Mark’s characters other than Jesus, and it is entirely plausible that this kind of individuality is the kind that was conveyed by Peter’s own recounting of the Gospel stories. The sequence of events in which Peter emerges most clearly as an individual who has his own story – his own story as a disciple of Jesus, that is – is the one that runs from his protestations of loyalty at the last supper to his distraught condition after denying Jesus. Here Peter exceeds the other disciples both in loyalty and in failure. This personal story does not serve merely to denigrate Peter – whether as hostile criticism from some anti-Petrine faction or as self-denigration by Peter himself – but actually qualifies Peter for his apostolic task. It is a story of personal transformation through failure self-recognition and restoration (the latter something to which Mark’s narrative points, without recounting it), a dramatic example of the encounter with the meaning of the cross that every Markan disciple must undergo. In this respect too it is both credibly the story Peter told about himself and a significant component of the story Mark has told.

Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
By: Richard Bauckham

 

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