Monday, January 23, 2023

           We occasionally find ourselves in embarrassing circumstances.  Often, those situations can be funny.  And it is probably good to laugh at ourselves at times and to laugh along with others about something we have done.  There was an embarrassing situation that took place just before Jesus’ crucifixion.  Mark explains the situation in this way, “A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind” (Mark 14:51-52).  Who was that man?  Imagine being stripped of your clothes and left with nothing to do but run away!  Most Bible students believe this unnamed young man was actually Mark himself.  This story is not included in Matthew or Luke.  But Mark makes mention of it.  Some people suggest that Mark was making a cameo appearance in the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion.  But there are some lessons we can take from this story.
            First, the Bible says that this man was “following Jesus.”  He was doing exactly what Jesus called others to do—follow Me.  To follow Jesus would suggest some sort of connection or association with our Lord.  He was not a casual fan.  He likely was not a curiosity seeker or some fringe character just trying to get a look at what was happening—not a rubbernecker at a traffic accident.  Following Jesus remains the Lord’s call today to all who would come to know and love Him in a saving relationship.  When you follow someone or something, you devote your time and attention to that person or thing. 
            Second, this young man “fled” from Jesus.  The disciples had fled too.  Almost everyone had abandoned Jesus at that point.  You may recall that Jesus even issued a warning or prophecy that those most loyal to Him would flee and fall away as the cross drew near (Mark 14:27).  Peter and the disciples strongly denied that they would ever desert Jesus or abandon Him (Mark 14:31).  But they did—and without putting up too much resistance at all.  And honestly, we have deserted or abandoned the Lord too.  We have walked away.  We have chosen our ways above His ways.  We have loved ourselves more than Him.  We may not have lost our clothes in those times when we fled the Lord but we may have lost our character, our fellowship with Him or our devotion to Him.  To flee from the Lord would suggest that something else has captured our attention more than Him.
            Third, this young man had a second chance.  If this unnamed man was in fact Mark, then he went on to write the gospel that bears his name.  He would also participate in a mission trip with Barnabas and Paul.  During that mission trip, Mark would flee again—abandoning Paul and the work of the gospel.  But once more, he would experience restoration and renewal (I Timothy 4:11).  There are occasions in life where we have to walk back to the Lord because we have turned away.  We choose a different route or course than the One that He has chosen for us.  You may be in a situation today where you are ready to walk back to the Lord—to experience His grace and renewal once again.  Mark shows us that even the most embarrassing of circumstances cannot keep us from the healing and cleansing power of God’s grace.  We can walk back to Him.  We can be reclothed and remade by His power. 
            And there is a fourth lesson—embarrassing and regrettable moments do not have to hold us captive.  They do not have to define us. We can leave them behind and move beyond them.  We can learn from them.  Most of us would not want to be defined by or reduced to our worst moments in life.  Experience can be a good teacher and if an experience brings us closer to the Lord, then it just may have been a divine appointment all along with God’s fingerprints on it.  It just may be that Mark is using this story to say, “If I can bounce back from this crazy situation, then there is hope for you too.”  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can share our worship with others at   

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