Thanks for your response. Clearly, you're right that Jesus gives the
disciples responsibilities and charges them to go out and preach and all that.
Your citations are right on. However, the location of most of those citations
is part of the problem in Mark; that is, 3:13-19; 6:7-13; and 4:10-12. Yes,
there is no indication that the disciples flubbed up in Mark 6. However, look
what happens in Mark 9 when Jesus and the Big Three come down and find that the
disciples can't heal the mute boy. In Mark 4, they are taught in secret. How-
ever, in Mark 9, Jesus begins to speak openly -- right after Peter's so-called
confession and his rebuke of Jesus. Of course, all this follows after the
bread scenes and Jesus' charge that their hearts have hardened. Then, yes he
tells them that they are to go out and proclaim. He also ends Mark 13 with
three commands to "watch/stay awake." In Mark 14, The Big Three fail in that
seemingly simple command (the different contexts of 13 and 14 demonstrate this
failure: how can they watch for the apocalypse when they can't stay awake in
the garden?). The silence of the women is their nail in the coffin in 16:7-8.
The youth charges them, but they never spread the news. However, the READERS
in Mark can succeed where the disciples failed. So, I do still see pretty
thorough-going critique of the disciples in Mark. Plus, therefore, the
possibility of implied critique of an historical group at the time of Mark is
still perceivable in the text.