Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Naked Disciple

Living Lesson: The Naked Truth
By: Christopher Wiles

“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

Right now you’re probably saying, “Wow, how did I miss that!?”  I know, I did too. The “Naked Disciple” passage is near the end of the gospel of Mark, and I did a double take while reading it recently.  We often quote many verses and give many sermons from subject matter in this chapter such as:
  •  Jesus’s prophecy to Peter, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
  • Jesus praying in Gethsemane, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
  • And Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper, “ And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body.’”

Yet, when was the last time you heard anyone mention the “Naked Disciple” of Mark 14:52?

Admittedly, we really don’t know a lot about this disciple.  This young man appears only in the gospel of Mark. In this account, after Judas leads the guards to Jesus with a kiss, Jesus is seized and the rest of the disciples flee, even though they’d promised they wouldn’t. This guy was also lurking, wearing only a towel, and the guards tried to catch him, but he ditched the towel and fled.  Some say he’s the author Mark himself.   Others say he could be a metaphor for the disciples, who are now naked in the world after abandoning Jesus.  Various people have even attempted to identify the man historically, but it’s really impossible to figure out. There’s a lot we don’t know about this naked disciple, but here’s what I do know.

We need to study ALL of our Bibles more. 

If this verse in Mark chapter 14 (which contains some of the most important events in the history of humanity such as Jesus’ anointing, last supper, betrayal, arrest, and defense before the council) has never been discussed in your lifetime, then there’s a good possibility that you have been a victim of a system that breeds “pick and choose” theology.  It may mean that you’ve heard sermons that just focus on the obvious or the entertaining, not the entirety of the passage.  It may mean that you’ve only heard messages that are topical in nature, just whatever the speaker wants to talk about.  It may mean that you aren’t attending text driven Bible classes, or aren’t attending class at all.  It may mean that you aren’t reading your Bible at home yourself. 

Whatever the topic of “the naked disciple” in the middle of Mark 14 means in your life, I can say this with all certainty:

We need to study ALL of our Bibles more.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

We try really hard to be textually driven in our studies and sermons at Washington Church of Christ.  While we do take breaks to handle the topical from time to time, we are offering textual studies right now, such as our auditorium classes on Romans (Sunday AM), the chronological life of Jesus (Wednesday PM), and Revelation (Sunday sermons).  If you've got a question about our classes, sermons, or are looking for more study opportunities, then feel free to message me or anyone else at Washington Church of Christ.

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