Who Was the Naked Runner? – Mark 14-15

Mark 14 is the longest in his gospel and one of the longest in the New Testament at 72 verses. It truly demonstrate the fast pace of Mark’s writing we spoke of earlier, as there is a lot of history in the chapter. It covers Jesus’ anointing at Bethany, the institution of the Lord’s supper, prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas’ betrayal, and Peter’s denial. This makes a detailed study of the chapter in this blog practically impossible. But there is so much to be learned from such a study, considering all of those events. Most of them have been covered in previous posts here.

Sunrise over the Mount of Olives. The Garden of Gethsemane is to the left of the large building on the right.

Sunrise over the Mount of Olives. The Garden of Gethsemane is to the left of the large building on the right.

That being the case, I want to focus on two verses that are almost always overlooked because of all of the other important details. When you read (or listen to) the chapter, pay attention to verses 51 and 52, which seem to be out of step with the entire chapter. The context is the arrest of Jesus, during which His followers ended up fleeing:

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

Why is this seemingly insignificant and strange account included in such a succinct gospel account? Does it have any meaning for us? There are some scholars who believe that the young man spoken of here is John Mark himself, and that the passage serves as a sort of signature for the author — somewhat like John’s reference to “the disciple that Jesus loved” in his gospel. That has a ring of truth, and well may be the case.

But it does serve to illustrate that Jesus’ captors did seek to arrest those who followed Him, and would certainly have loved to get their hands on the apostles. But this insignificant man was the only one they got their hands on — and he got away. The Lord had indeed guarded His disciples from harm in this ordeal. It was His will that they would not be harmed. Just one in a long line of examples that God’s will always gets done.

Chapter 15 is only 47 verses, but once again, it is filled with many important events. Jesus appears before the Sanhedrin, who send Him to Pilate, who has Him scourged (trying in vain to get the crowd to have him release Jesus instead of Barabbas). He is mocked and beaten and spat upon, and then led to be crucified. At His death, he utters the famous words taken from Psalm 22 — “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

After His death, it was a respected member of the Sanhedrin council itself who went to Pilate  and obtained permission to take the body for burial. It was a truly courageous thing for a man in his position to do; and Mark tells us that he “was also himself looking for the kingdom of God.” As is so often the case, God used one of the most unexpected of people to see His will done. And that is always a reminder to us that everyone who seeks the Lord has the ability to do something meaningful in His kingdom.

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click here to read or listen to audio of this week’s chapters in Mark

/Bob’s boy

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.






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