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Mysteries of the Bible

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An Easter Visitor

In the somber remembrance of a crucifixion, followed by the joyful celebration of resurrection, many of us have once again reflected on events that solved one of the longstanding mysteries of the Bible.

For thousands of years, the identity of the Savior of the world was a mystery. The promise of One whose heel would be bruised while crushing the head of the serpent was like a great riddle woven together with countless other details of blood sacrifice, ritual uncleanness, and the destiny of a fallen family.

But in saying that one of the greatest of all riddles has been solved, we all know that many mysteries of the Bible remain. There is so much that we don’t yet understand.

For example, if we move from the great drama of Jesus’ death and resurrection to something that seems trivial by comparison, what are we to make of that unusual and somewhat embarrassing detail of the unnamed young man who lost his clothes and ran away naked on the night of Jesus arrest? (Mark 14:51-52)

Some suggest that, because we are not told his name, nor the significance of his embarrassing moment, we should allow the young man to remain in the shadows of the text as unexplained information. After all, one mark of credible historical observation is that there are always loose strings of fact that remain unanswered. By contrast, fictional drama has the luxury of being able to weave together all clues and distractions before the story is over.

That seems to be a good point, as some have made it.

But would we then go a step further to suggest that the humiliation of the young man’s nakedness may be nothing more than a moment of comical relief in a tragic unfolding of events?

I don’t know for sure. But the fact that the very next words are that “they led Jesus away” makes me wonder how much of a nervous laugh the text could be suggesting.

If we assume that everything in the Bible, from Genesis forward, to Revelation backward, is a telling of the story of Jesus, does it make sense to quickly assume that a strange, unexplained detail, about an unnamed young man who has lost his clothes while following the arrest of Jesus—is simply there to add credibility, or a smile to the text?

What we do know is that within a few hours, the Teacher the young man is following is going to be hanging naked, nailed to a tree, as his executioners gamble for his clothes.

Here’s what I’m wondering. Is it naïve to think that the Gospel writer, Mark, or the Spirit of God, has used the experience of a young man’s unwanted embarrassment to awaken us to the willing humiliation of Another?

Thinking about this has caused me to recall recurring nightmares of my childhood in which I dreamed that I showed up in elementary school in my underwear. Now I smile. Now it seems so comical. But waking up was such a relief.

So, here’s where I’m landing for now. Regardless of whether we can say for sure what the detail of the young man who lost his clothes was all about, it has awakened in me a sense of nervous memory, that has deepened my thoughts about the humiliation of the Savior who was stripped, nailed, mocked, and gawked at by passersby…for us– because of what our shamelessly naked first parents lost.

And in that light, let me push an admittedly unexplained detail further. Is it possible that, in the young man’s embarrassment, we find ourselves, our intimately human story, and a perspective from which the Cross of Christ becomes eternally and infinitely better than waking up from our worst nightmares? Is this too much of a stretch? I’d be interested in your thoughts one way or another.

PS The turkey showed up on Easter Sunday. I first noticed him looking in my window. I thought he was looking at me. But I think the big Tom was seeing his own reflection in the window. Seemed like he had his holidays mixed up. But maybe not.

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34 Responses to “Mysteries of the Bible”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Mart you have given me a mystery. I believe nothing is written in the Scripture without hidden meaning and so here is a piece of the story to ferret out.

    My first reaction was to look to all the other Gospels for a clue, but only found the story of Peter following afar after the arrest of Jesus by the Temple guards.

    I feel certain that the answer to this lay in the depth of the OT.

    Any other comment from me would be conjecture so I will seek the Scripture and by prayer to the Holy Spirit and see if I can come up with an answer.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Have heard the supposed identity of the young man who ran away naked from scholars and others. We usually credit the gospel writer Luke with the most sophisticated story telling and the most elegant Greek in the New Testament. The personal touch of this startled and humiliated young man draws the readers’ attention to that sense of physical and emotional exposure you mentioned, Mart.

    The gospel writer Mark does give us a taste of the horrors of personal exposure. Perhaps we can better feel the sacrifice Jesus has made for us all.


  3. Rocky says:

    Mart, I’ve read that passage many times but I don’t recall that incident. I’ll have to go back & look that up.

    But I must say the what entered my thoughts while I reading this morning is that American English is not a precise language. Being bilingual myself I’ve asked myself the same question about many things, what’s the possibility of it being a some sort of slang?

    When I was in high school, my brother who was in the Marines had a slang nick name for me, “wetback” but he would say it in spanish “mojado” translated into English it simply means wet one.

    One day while my brother was in town, my sister 10 years younger than me had her little friend visiting, when my brother calls me this name, she erupts in laughter, her friend asks her why is she laughing? My sister response with “my older brother told Rocky that Rocky had wet his pants”

    When a baby wets their diper we use the same term. It would be interesting to have someone who speaks Greek to join us to be able to enlighten us.

  4. BruceC says:

    There seems to be problems again with the site. I posted a comment and it did not show up. Then when I tried again it said I already posted it; but it was not there. Tried to disconnect and come back and it still was not there.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  5. BruceC says:

    I tried copy/paste and that did not work either. Will have to retype it a little different I guess.

  6. BruceC says:

    I completely retyped the entire post and changed it slightly and it still would not work.
    If this post appears then something isn’t working right and it is not on my end. (Or at least I don’t think it is)

  7. BruceC says:

    Could you check on this problem Mart?

  8. kamc says:

    I heard a good Bible teacher postulate the young man who lost his clothes might be John Mark…can’t remember the details as to why..but was impressed that he, too, did not think any detail was insignificant and that this person was up in the middle of the night trying to see what would happen to Jesus…in spite of the obvious danger from Jewish leaders who were out to put down this “rebellion”. I appreciate your thinking about things deeply, Mart, and sharing your thoughts with us. Thank you.


  9. fadingman says:

    Never thought about that man in this way, but it does makes some connections in my mind.

    God showed compassion on the first Adam by providing skins to cover his nakedness. Adam did not have to bear the full brunt of his shame. But God did direct the Last Adam to fully bear my shame.

    – Andrew

  10. poohpity says:

    My hunch is that it was John Mark since this event was only written in his Gospel account. I also bet that it was not an embarrassment but a further fulfillment of Jesus’ sheep being scattered John 16:32. The fear all the disciples faced when they saw their Lord allowing Himself to be taken which they could hardly understand knowing who He claimed to be.

    Embarrassment seems to only come when we think more highly of ourselves than we are. If we try and make an impression on others and we happen to get caught with our pants down then red cheeks follow. I remember David as he danced naked while the Ark was being brought home. His wife, Michal was embarrassed because of his behavior but he was dancing with joy in front of the Lord and his people. 2 Samuel 6:20-23

  11. BruceC says:

    I checked again and I still get a “duplicate message” response when I try to cut and paste my original post.

  12. BruceC says:

    I think all of us are represented by the naked man. Our sins are laid bare before God and only being clothed in the righteousness of Christ can we stand before the Father.

    I hope this gets through as it is a very shortened version of what I originally typed. Tech is wonderful…..when it works right.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  13. poohpity says:

    Even though you shortened your message to 2 sentences it revealed the bottom line of the whole Bible.

  14. bep77 says:

    I,too, have been taught the young man was Mark. Nothing like putting in an eye witness account and he could be pointing out his shame of running away and so did not want to identify himself. :-( how many times have I hesitated and so lost the opportunity to share Jesus?….too many and I kick myself for it and certainly do not tell anyone…but Father God and ask forgiveness and to not let Him down next time. I will be running this past the family during our next discussion session.
    (Mart, we had probably a dozen turkeys in the yard this past weekend. The males were there too which I had not seen them yet. Just struttin’ their stuff)

  15. Regina says:

    Good Afternoon All,

    Mart asked, “Here’s what I’m wondering. Is it naïve to think that the Gospel writer, Mark, or the Spirit of God, has used the experience of a young man’s unwanted embarrassment to awaken us to the willing humiliation of Another?”

    I think so… Think it also provides some level of comfort and intimate brotherhood for those all over the world who have had to face similar humiliating and embarrassing situations and circumstances in their lives. Was thinking about the mistreatment, racism, and prejudice against several races of people (e.g. Indians, Jews, African Americans, the Japanese, etc.) who had to endure similar embarrassing and humiliating acts committed against them.

    Only thought for now… Very interesting topic, Mart. :)

    Love to all…

    Cloudy and rainy in Texas today.

  16. Regina says:

    By the way, that turkey featured in the blog pic is beautiful!

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… Yes, naked we must come before a Holy God, for there is nothing we can bring of any value to Him, other than our called upon hearts of flesh.
    It is our fallen flesh we are found in, when the Lord comes calling for us.
    When Satan tries to trap, we must leave everything behind in order to flee. For whatever possessions you try to hang on to, like the evil things of this world, they will then further trap you.
    When David had to flee from the grasp of evil that so desired to have him sin, he had to flee leaving even his garment behind as well.
    We can’t take our baggage with us, if we are to effectively flee from all the evil in this world and run into the Arms of the Master where our new slate, forgiven by grace awaits already prepared by Him who calls us.
    He who knows we are guilty, naked, blind, hungry, thirsty, lonely, empty, and afraid of death, call us where we are found, even hiding, and yet, He completely cleanses us of anything we might try to carry with us into His Kingdom.
    Our filthy rags are but all we really have to offer. But, when they are washed in the blood of Christ they become white as snow.
    Yes, I believe the sheep were scattered that night because He remained silent as they led Him away, like a lamb before the shearer. For if had He called out to them to fight for Him, or follow along instead of fleeing, then His sheep may not have all fallen away or denied him as they must, to fulfill every thing in the scriptures already written, or as Christ had revealed.

    To me, we don’t need to know any more drama about this young man, he needs no name. Why would we need to add in any possible embarrassment he may have suffered?
    Do we need any more details to fulfill what God had already ordered.
    There are those who would like to also add other books to the bible, and there are those who feel it is not complete enough; as they seem to suffer some lack.
    But, the things of God, those that “were chosen,” they lack no thing!

  18. billystan454 says:

    This post by Mart so intrigued me that i bought out the trusty ol’ “Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
    When I looked up the Greek word Ifound this: “G1131-gymos (greek) of an uncertain affinity; nude ( absolutely or relatively, literally or figuratiely)-naked”. Even was “G1130- “ymneteou a derivative of G1131; to strip, i.e., (reflexive) go poorly clad: naked”
    Reading the King James Version you almost get the impression that this “young man” was bringing the “linen cloth” for Jesus to use as He hung on the cross. After reading a couple other versions I came away with the impression that this “young man” was indeed Mark. As Gary said though why is it so impotant who this “young man” actually was. Any answer we come up with on our own is just speculation.
    I have to be constantly reminded to “keep it simple” when studying and reading God’s precious Word.
    Thank you for this post Mart. Bill

  19. davids says:

    I think that Pooh and Bep77 are on the right path. We focus on the nakedness because we are 2000 years distant, where nakedness is unseen.

    During that time it was not so uncommon. Those crucified were publicly naked, and the poor were probably barely clothed. Nakedness was shameful, but probably not very rare.

    The account probably refers to a person that was known to the early Christians. They knew the event, and it marked him as an eye-witness without revealing his name to the authorities. To read more theological interpretation into it than that seems overstepping the boundaries of what we can know.

    Blessings to all here on the blog.

  20. BruceC says:


    That turkey reminds me of when I was younger and healthier and used to hunt the toms every spring. It was wonderful to be out there before dawn and hear God’s creation wake up. He truly is awesome in all He does. I can remember calling them in close enough at times to see the shine in their eyes.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  21. poohpity says:

    Mart asked, “If we assume that everything in the Bible, from Genesis forward, to Revelation backward, is a telling of the story of Jesus, does it make sense to quickly assume that a strange, unexplained detail, about an unnamed young man who has lost his clothes while following the arrest of Jesus—is simply there to add credibility, or a smile to the text?”

    I believe that although it was a simple detail it adds to the credibility of the Bible. When we tend to hide the smallest details in our lives especially those that may cause us to turn red it shows the necessity of those beautiful little details that add so much to the entire story. The name of the person may not be important to some just like what is written in John 13:23; 19:26 the name is not clear but everything every jot and tittle is important or it would not have remained in the Bible over all this time and is worthy of further evaluation and helps us identify with those who lived so many years before us yet their story is ours.

  22. SFDBWV says:

    It may very well be that Mark is the naked young man recorded in His Gospel. Interesting also that many experts believe that the Gospel of Mark was actually an account from Peter, but recorded by Mark and credited as such.

    I didn’t have the time I wanted to devote to this search yesterday, but what little time I had in the morning produced some interesting results.

    First I was taken to Amos 2:16 then to Deuteronomy 28:48.

    Both show a remarkable statement of the state of Israel as punishment for turning their back on God and very interesting also found in Amos 2: 6 it is recorded they sold their righteousness for silver.

    Even if there seems to be a simple answer to this mystery I believe as is the way of the Holy Spirit, much more to glean from the matter. Meditation and prayer will produce the results of our search and they may be many.


  23. Mart De Haan says:

    BruceC, am sorry for the technical problems you are having. I’ve had similar problems once in a while, and so have others. The glitches show up and go suddenly and without explanation. It’s so hard for our tech people to know how run down occasional, temporary problems like this.

    As Deb commented, whatever your lost long version was– your short version nailed it :-)…

  24. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    My first thoughts were that I believe the Lord has purpose for everything being written in the bible. I love to discover the treasure chest of wisdom when He opens His word to our minds!
    My first thought was for the lost: They will face pure holiness and sins will be laid bare before Him. They will want to run and hide as their nakedness (sin) is exposed. ~People will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from the fearful presence of the Lord and the splendor of his majesty Isaiah 2:19~

    Thank you for your prayers on the last topic. Please continue as trouble has intensified. Paranormal things are either gone or reduced. Narrowpath: Similar and more have occurred after two visits from a family. The whole family was here Sunday and extreme happenings occurred just after, all day Monday, Monday night (woke many times to pray for my daughter)and yesterday. Situations broke this relationship and we came home to a seemingly peaceful house.
    I will be glad when this trial is over!! The good side of this is that I was Ms chicken with anything scary. The Lord has built me to not fear, to know He has the authority and to claim it when entities are present. When the dog growled or shied away from entities, that ruffled my feathers a bit, but still I went right to the place with the strength of the Lord. (Certainly not mine!) We had incidents that were bad enough to call in the Pastor and others a couple of times. Situations have been witnessed by 3 of us, plus strangers have said they came in and felt an evil presence. Neighbors have problems in their houses. I wonder why He’s allowing this with so much on my plate as is. Perhaps it’s to teach someone down the road.

  25. poohpity says:

    Amazed, it could be to grow your faith and trust not in your own strength but in giving things over to God and allowing Him to take care of all your troubles. It develops perseverance, character and reliance to a place of rejoicing no matter the circumstances knowing that God has it all in His hands.

  26. poohpity says:

    Normally when we have been embarrassed or shamed we react in a defensive way, anger, name calling, putting another down to feel better about ourselves but Jesus even experiencing such humiliating circumstances to us acted in a loving manor by saying. “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Luke 23:34. I believe that every experience we experience and every emotion we have encountered Jesus knows, that is why we can take everything to Him and He understands because He has been there and done that and yet forgave and showed mercy. What better High Priest to have than One who can empathize with us in all our humiliation, suffering, sorrow, shame, trials and temptations. (Hebrews 4:15) That to me shows us that it is possible not to react with the sin of pride, anger and retaliation when we face those things because He has shown us a better way.

    I guess how we respond to situations that may cause embarrassment or humiliation can be pride filled or trusting in the One who experienced it all yet did not sin.

  27. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… yes every jot and tiddle was important enough to be preserved, and apparently it is still having its impact, its message, its place in the scriptures.
    But, if we are to come as children, we would just come,
    trusting, loving, and open.
    If we were to respond to his calling like sheep, we would just come, trusting, loving, and open.

    If we were to question every jot and tiddle, would we then look like children or sheep?

    Or more like pharsees, now questioning every motive,
    every action, every possibility, and trying to fit them into our thinking. Showing others our more learned searching, our position, our authority, and really being blinded by all the minutiae, like getting our spices correctly proportioned for the tithe, but missing the larger points?

    He who makes all things simple, also confounds the wise.

    “My Grace is sufficient!”
    “My sheep hear my voice and they follow Me!”
    “If you love Me you will obey my commands!”

    Yes, we can know the number of fish caught on a certain day, for they were counted and also revealed. I do not believe it is so we can fully enjoy just the knowing of the number.
    To me, the fact that the nets were filled to near breaking, is the larger example of what we should be focussed on. God’s provission!
    But, that is just my opinion.
    I’m sure God had a higher reason for putting those little obscure facts in His Word.
    Perhaps by our searching them out, we find a greater meaning than by not searching them out, and perhaps not!
    We each get to decide for ourselves, what we may find is worth looking for, or maybe its just there to bring us together to dialogue our thoughts.
    Just a thought…

  28. oneg2dblu says:

    We are however, to test every spirit, and bring all our thoughts captive to Christ. To me it means to measure all with the Word of God, the Holy Spirit within, and trust that those things that go unaswered, are as you say, In His Hands!

  29. BruceC says:


    Thank you very, very much for your response. That “glitch” was only temporary as you said.
    Reminds me that only the Lord, His ways, and His Word
    are perfect.
    Again, thank you. At least it only drove me nuts temporarily!! LOL!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  30. poohpity says:

    Yes Gary, and we have to know the Word of God as a means to measure. That is why it is so important to be grounded in it so we can know the commands it holds not to push others to follow. I believe all of God’s Word is worth searching to understand God and His character. We are called to have child like trust but we are also called to mature in our faith and most reach that maturity by experience, learning all about God that we can and holding God and His Word in our hearts. Anyone we love normally we want to find out all we can about them and that I feel is why God has given us the Bible. Stuck on the basics is still just drinking Spiritual milk, looking forward to eating meat as we grow deeper and deeper in our relationship as we abide in the Vine and find joy in the jots and tittles finding meaning even in them.

  31. poohpity says:

    Gary, what did you learn from that little story of Mark 14:51-52?

  32. s2inkzoo says:

    In the context, I noticed that this is sandwiched between where Jesus says they will all abandon Him (Mark 14:47), where they all flee (Mark 14:50), and then Peter’s betrayal (Mark 14:66-72). It seems to help describe more fully the way they fled. That they were really running in terror, and they had a reason. They didn’t just slip away; they had to run quickly and apparently in panic. People were trying to detain them; so it was not just a baseless fear. Yet, in context of what Jesus said, and Peter’s betrayal, it wasn’t just a matter of getting away from danger. It was abandoning Jesus. It was thinking of only themselves (at least in the moment). Seemingly to forget what happened when they were on the lake (Mark 4:35-41), they still did not have enough faith to stand with Him. Not that I would have (but I always hope I would, but can see parallels in my life). It is also a contrast. The young man became naked and exposed in abandoning Jesus. Jesus became naked and humiliated from accepting the young man’s sin and willingly going into danger (and even knowing the outcome). So in that context, to say something similar to what Mart said with a different twist, is sticking with Jesus, even in the angry mob, infinitely better than giving up something just to escape the world’s wrath, only to be shamefully exposed?


  33. s2inkzoo says:

    First reference should have been Mark 14:27

  34. Mart De Haan says:

    Good thoughts!! Thanks

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