The shameful run
Mark 14: 50-51 “Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”
Of course everyone speculates on who this young man was and of course we won’t know this side of heaven. But Mark alone includes this amazing story which is only 2 verses long but is compelling and impacting.
The Roman soldiers had come to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Judas had betrayed him. The chief priests and elders were pleased they were finally stopping Jesus. The band of brothers who had promised they would not let anything happen to Jesus have all fled the scene.
But a young man continued to follow, in the shadows of the night he had managed to stay unnoticed and he remained where the others had gone. That is until he was spotted and seized by the mob.
In the struggle he pulls away from his captors leaving the only item of clothing he was wearing behind. He is now naked and chooses to run away in shame than stay and risk his life.
That’s possibly the reason why Mark includes the story. Some people would rather choose shame than sacrifice their life for Jesus. The price to follow Jesus becomes too much for some.
Interestingly, a quick word search on ‘linen’ in Mark’s gospel shows us that he uses the word only one other time in 15:46 “So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.”
Is Mark telling the story of the naked man to show that actually Jesus’ sacrificed body was wrapped in the shameful cloth of his followers, that this was the purpose of the cross and the reason for him coming? If it is, then Mark has done a beautiful thing.
Today, even if the enemy has his hands all over you and the cost is becoming too much, don’t struggle and don’t turn back, don’t flee in shame, stay.
And if you have? Then realise that Jesus has come and taken your shame on himself. There is power in the cross, power to make you whole again.