Nothing But a Linen Sheet

The scene is Jesus’ arrest in the garden.

And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber? “Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures.” And they all left Him and fled. A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.

Mark 14:48–52

There is no way to know who this young man is. People can guess, but we really don’t know. I do have one thought, though.

Earlier in Mark, in chapter 10, a rich young ruler approaches Jesus to ask Him what he ought to do to inherit eternal life. While Mark 10 doesn’t call him a young man, the parallel account in Matthew 19:20, 22 does. Here is how their conversation went,

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ ” And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”

Mark 10:17–23

It may seem like there is no hope for this man after this exchange, but then Jesus says this to His disciples.

The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

Mark 10:24–27

Could it be that this young man went away, contemplated what Jesus said, and, in a moment of clarity, sold all he had, including the clothes on his back, only to find Jesus arrested and headed for death? Possibly.

Of course, there is no way to prove this, but it seems interesting to me. There might be something there.

While I have your attention, I want to make sure you are aware of my friend Dallas’s website I recently redid it for him, and we have uploaded many essays, books, and articles for free. Be sure to check it out!

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