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In Mark 10:32 it says

32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,...

and got my attention that Disciples were afraid of something and cant figure out what they were afraid of?

  • It's pretty clear from the rest of the gospel, and the other gospels, that Jesus' followers had a good idea of what was likely to happen to him. – DJClayworth May 20 '15 at 1:43
  • I thought they expected him to overthrow Roman empire? – user20809 Jun 24 '15 at 14:22
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We should not so much look for what the disciples were afraid of, but look at how the story in Mark's Gospel unfolds and why the disciples are being described as afraid, without apparent reason. David Rhoads, Joanna Dewey and Donald Michie say in Mark as Story, page 1, that the composer of Mark's Gospel has used sophisticated storytelling techniques, developed the characters and the conflicts, and built suspense with deliberateness, telling the story to generate certain insights and responses in the audience.

In the case of this passage, the author is building suspense in preparation for the following verses, in which Jesus foretells his crucifixion:

Mark 10:33-34: Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

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I would try to present an emotional approach to explain this situation.

First of all, I guess it's sensible to describe disciples' feelings about their life and their Master. Let me try: 1. Dissapointment - their faith in Jesus was touched by events of His death, taking into account: hope for continous friendship with Master, elevating words of Jesus that made them 'Disciples' instead of being just simple fishermen, and so on. 2. Loss of faith in 'better world' driven by Jesus' good deeds and His words of justice, brotherhood and acceptance. 3. Their social position (as disciples) was cut because of not fulfilled wishes of many people of Israel (including being freed from Roman occupation). 4. Feeling of being lost and confused inside their own lives (they put on a stake lots of things, including what we would call 'careers').

That said, I understand their behaviour (being afraid) as: 1. Being mentally separated from other people (because of being ashamed of lost of their 'cause') made them being afraid of people. 2. As Jesus' disciples they may be afraid of someone that would deliver them to soldiers to punish them for taking part in 'rebellion' (as occupants may see it). 3. If they recognized Jesus, they may be afraid of His words about not helping Him against Orthodox Jews and Romans (I know that from our point of view it may be nonsense, but still, these are emotions, not a logical approach). 4. There are some psychological terms that describe our feelings as defence mechanisms, some may apply here.

Last, but not least, we may not be able to fully understand how really felt disciples (translation problems).

I guess that we can try to search for similiar feelings in our inner life. I believe that taking disciples' emotional life may bring some light here. (I'm sorry if my english in not sufficient).

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