Young Naked Man, You’re Winner! Crazy Bible Stories 7
Naked, but NOT Afraid
Welcome again to Crazy Bible Stories with Zach Haas! This time we aren’t looking at a story so much as we are looking at just two verses. Of course, these verses have to do with a naked man, but it is still just two verses. If you want to get a little more of the context, go ahead and read Mark 14. Note, that these verses are only found in the Gospel of Mark. Evidently, this story didn’t stick out enough to the other three Gospel writers. In particular, focus on the follower verses.
48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 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.Mark 14:48-52
You may recall a similar crazy Bible story that occurs right around the same time as this one. Check out Jesus and the Sword. This occurs shortly after this. The Bible really doesn’t get us a whole lot to work with in this story. Commentators have a good time trying to explain it, or at least identify the man who ran off naked.
However, while this certainly fits the category of a crazy Bible story, there is actually something really interesting tucked away behind the shock. Once you get over the fact that some dude escaped being arrested by running off naked, another little verse shows up. Verse 50. Everyone else had left Jesus behind. The only person left by Jesus’ side is “young naked man.”
Was Peter around? Nope, and even when he showed up he famously denies Jesus three times. What about those Sons of Thunder James and John? Surely, they’d be up for a good tussling. Nope, deserted the Christ and fled. Instead, we are left with a nameless man willing to follow Jesus. Not just follow Jesus, but follow him in the buff!
How does this happen?
Commentators have a couple of different suggestions as to how this came to be. The most convincing to me is that the young man didn’t have time to get dressed. He lived close enough to the garden that he heard Jesus captors come and start taking him away. I imagine there were plenty of deafeningly loud shouts when Peter cut the guys ear off.
This young man had to be someone who really got Jesus and who he really was. There are a few people this could have been based on Jesus’ interactions in the Gospels. I imagine it was someone who received a great miracle. Perhaps a blind person who received sight, or perhaps even Lazarus who was raised from the dead. You’d think, walking on the water to meet Jesus would have been a great enough experience to follow through on the “I’ll follow you anywhere” promise, but alas Peter had not yet found his courage and strength.
It’s hard for me to encourage people to be like the young naked man entirely. Personally, I like clothes. If it were up to me I’d be a never-nude. However, there is something to be respected. When it really comes down to it, would we be willing to follow Jesus even if it meant following him with nothing but a sheet, knowing you might be following him to your own arrest? That’s some pretty fierce commitment!