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A Better Covering

Mark 14:51-52 KJV [51]” And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: [52] And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. …”

The Gospel of Mark is the only one of the four Gospels to mention this brief account. It seems out of place or inserted in error, but I don’t believe it is. Anytime we read something in the Word, and then return to it again, it benefits us. It’s good if it gives us pause to ask questions. Who is this young man? What is he doing? We could posit, [ assume as a fact, put forward as a bases of an argument] that perhaps he’s one of the disciples. Maybe even Mark himself telling in the first person. I am sure that there are theologians who would have an explanation for this, but what happens when we place ourselves as the young man in this account?

The linen cloth cast around his body could signify grave clothes. We who were dead in our trespasses and sins would be wrapped in such a cloth. This spiritual death is where we find ourselves outside of Christ. The Bible is replete with warnings of this death. It tells us in Romans that “the wages of sin is death.” We also read in the well known verses from Psalms 23, that we “walk in the valley of the shadow of death” . Recognizing this, we too may be tempted to follow after Jesus from a distance. We may feel the draw of this amazing man who we have heard provides goodness in a world of bad. We may even be tempted to feel like we could help Jesus in some way from the perceived predicament he is in. Jesus has just been taken hold of by a great multitude with swords. They are accusing him falsely and it may feel like an injustice to us, so we try to follow him. We may even think that if we follow Jesus, and try and do what he does, we can be saved from this death. We even hear from many that we should try to become “more like Jesus”. This fallacy is too often put upon us, to think that we could do something ourselves to become like the Son of God. The reverse is true. He became like us, yet was without sin. The letter to the Philippians tells us, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. This is His work, not ours. It is imperative that we follow Him, but not for the purpose of helping Him. Instead that we take up our cross and follow Him, and “To know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”. Philippians 3:10

The young man then is grabbed by the same ones who took Jesus. We too become ensnared by those who accuse Jesus. The thing is that Jesus’s accusers can rightly accuse us. We are guilty on all accounts. It really should be us that is being led away to be tried and put to death, that ignominious death of crucifixion. In spite of this truth, remarkably we are able to slip out of that grip and ditch our grave clothes and run away, freed from the grasp. The fact that we are naked shows that we have nothing to offer of ourselves. We are just as we were when we came into this world. Naked and dependent. Jesus himself takes those grave clothes with him to the cross and the tomb where three days later he is risen so that our naked bodies are able to be clothed with a robe of righteousness. What a turn of events! With His sacrifice and through faith in him, we can turn from dead men walking to those who are alive eternally. As the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians that “this corruptible shall put on Incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall it be brought to pass the saying that is written death is swallowed up in victory?….thanks be to God who has given us the victory in Jesus Christ!

Let us praise Him for his unspeakable mercies toward us in Christ!

Hans Lampinen

Submitted by Pastor Stan

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