The (Nearly) Naked Disciple

 

Mark 14:51 And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

Only the Gospel of Mark includes this story that seems so out of place in the Passion of the Christ. Jesus had been praying in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas betrayed him to the mob with a kiss. One of the disciples, probably Peter, tried to defend Jesus but the Lord told him to put down his sword and all the disciples fled away into the night. Jesus is taken to the home of the High Priest for questioning and only Mark tells us about the young man clothed in a bed sheet who tried to follow. The crowd grabbed him but caught only his sheet. The poor young man ran away into the night through the streets of Jerusalem naked!

Who was he and why did Mark include this rather comical story in the midst of such a serious scene? Some way it was the fulfillment of Bible prophecy: “ ‘and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day,’ declares the LORD,” (Amos 2:16) but the Bible itself never makes that claim.

For centuries Christians have suspected the young man was John Mark, the author of this gospel and disciple of both Peter and Paul. Many believe the Last Supper took place in the home of John Mark’s mother, Mary (See Acts 12:12, 13) and that’s the first place Judas would have gone with the mob to find Jesus. Mark, aroused from his sleep, wrapped only in a sheet ran through the streets of Jerusalem to the Garden to warn Jesus. But it was too late. Robbed of his robe, Mark too ran away into the night with the other disciples.

Peter tried to save Jesus with his sword. Mark, the nearly naked disciple tried to warn Jesus but Peter lost his sword and Mark lost his bed sheet. What they and the heavily armed crowd didn’t understand is Jesus willingly went to his death. He loved us that much!

 

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