The disciples are pretty ridiculous, don't you think? In the other gospels, they clean up their act quite a bit. But in Mark, the disciples are poor readers of Jesus's figurative and allegorical language and they're totally unable to comprehend Jesus's talk of suffering, death, and resurrection. These guys are totally lost.
If you want to wrestle Mark to the ground, you'll have to come to terms with what he's doing with these wayward disciples. We're warning you right now: there's no easy way out of it.
Questions About Foolishness and Folly
Is the attitude toward the disciples ultimately one of harsh critique or deep sympathy?
Does Mark's story envision a role for the disciples beyond Jesus's death as founders of the early Jesus-believing movement? Or are their errors enough to disqualify them?
Are the disciples an example to emulate or to avoid? Or is it some combination of both?