Why Did the Disciples Not Understand Jesus?

Throughout the Gospels, we see multiple instances where Jesus’ disciples failed to understand his teachings and actions. This may seem surprising, given that they spent so much time with him and witnessed his miracles firsthand. However, there are several reasons why the disciples struggled to comprehend Jesus’ message.

Limited Worldview
Firstly, it’s important to remember that the disciples were ordinary people living in a particular time and place. They were Jews who had grown up in a culture steeped in tradition and religious practices. Their worldview was shaped by their experiences and upbringing, which didn’t always align with Jesus’ teachings.

For example, when Jesus spoke about loving one’s enemies or turning the other cheek, this would have been a radical departure from the prevailing cultural norms of their time. The disciples may have struggled to grasp these concepts because they were so different from what they had been taught.

Language Barriers
Another factor that contributed to the disciples’ confusion was language barriers. Jesus often used parables and metaphors to convey his message. While these literary devices can be powerful tools for communication, they can also be confusing if you don’t understand the underlying meaning.

For instance, in Matthew 16:5-12, Jesus warns his disciples about the “yeast of the Pharisees.” The disciples initially think he is talking about bread but later realize he is referring to the Pharisees’ corrupt teachings. It’s possible that some of Jesus’ other parables and metaphors were equally puzzling to his followers.

Human Weakness

Lastly, we must remember that despite being close companions of Jesus, the disciples were still human beings with their own flaws and limitations. They struggled with doubts, fears, and prejudices just like anyone else.

In Mark 9:14-29, for example, we see one of the disciples failing to cast out a demon from a boy. Jesus rebukes him and the other disciples, saying, “You unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you?

How long shall I put up with you?” This suggests that the disciples’ lack of faith and reliance on their own abilities may have been a hindrance to their understanding of Jesus’ teachings.


In conclusion, there are several reasons why the disciples may have struggled to comprehend Jesus’ message. Their limited worldview, language barriers, and human weaknesses were all contributing factors. However, despite these challenges, we can still learn much from the disciples’ journey of faith and their eventual understanding of who Jesus was and what he came to do.