“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.” (Mark 14:51-52 ESV)
Who was the young man? Some people think it is Mark himself, as he is the only one who even mentions the story in his Gospel. It was clearly not one of the twelve apostles—they had already fled. But it was someone who loved and followed Jesus—as long as he could.
So, an ordinary Christian. And not a very well-prepared one, either. He is wearing a linen sheet, not regular clothes. Maybe he was in bed when he heard Jesus and the disciples going out to Gethsemane and decided to follow? Grabbing a sheet might have been his version of grabbing a bathrobe. Clearly he wasn’t expecting anyone to notice him that night—and so he wasn’t prepared for the mob to grab him. He skins out of his sheet and runs for it—the last of Jesus’ followers to desert Him.
What an embarrassing story! And yet, it’s a strangely comforting one as well. This ordinary follower loved Jesus well enough to try to follow, even if it did turn into a total fiasco. And Jesus’ mercy stretched to this minor young man as well. Remember what He said to the soldiers? “‘So, if you seek Me, let these men go,’ He said, and in fact all of the disciples got away” (John 18:8b ESV). Not just the important ones—also the ordinary one, the unexpected one—the one like us.
How embarrassing, to run away naked! And yet, in the end, it doesn’t matter. Jesus trades places with us—He covers our shame and nakedness with His own forgiveness and mercy. He takes our nakedness and shame upon Himself. And He brings it all to the cross, to get rid of shame forever—and to clothe us, even us, in His own everlasting life.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for loving me, ordinary as I am. Amen.
* How do you dress if you have to get up at night?
* Tell about a time when you were embarrassed.
* How has Jesus helped you deal with shame in your own life? Only share if you are willing.
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted from Lutheran Hour Ministries
(To view the entire “Lenten Devotions” mini-series, please click here.)”