Mark 14:51
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:
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(51) And there followed him a certain young man.—The remarkable incident that follows is narrated by St. Mark only. It had clearly made a deep impression on the minds of some of the disciples (probably enough, on that of Peter), from whom, directly or indirectly, the report came. Who it was that appeared in this strange fashion we are left to conjecture. Some have supposed that it was St. Mark himself, but for this there is obviously no ground but the fact that this Evangelist alone records it. A careful examination of the facts suggests another conclusion as probable. (1) The man was “young,” and the self-same term is applied to the ruler who had great possessions (Matthew 19:20). (2) He had apparently been sleeping, or, it may be, watching, not far from Gethsemane, with the linen sheet wrapped round him, and had been roused by the approach of the officers and the crowd. This suggests one who lived somewhere on the Mount of Olives, and so far points to Lazarus or Simon of Bethany, as the only two conspicuous disciples in that neighbourhood. (3) He was one who so loved our Lord that he went on following Him when all the disciples forsook Him and fled, and this also was what might be expected from Lazarus. On the supposition suggested in (1), he was now obeying almost literally the command, “Take up thy cross, and follow Me.” (See Notes on Matthew 19:16-22.) (4) He was one whom the officers (the words “the young men” are omitted in the better MSS.) were eager to seize, when they allowed all the disciples to go their way, and this agrees with the command which had been given by the priests, that they should take and kill Lazarus also (John 12:10). (5) As the “linen sheet” or sindôn (see Note on Matthew 27:59) was especially used for the burial of the dead, it is conceivable, on this supposition, that what had been the winding-sheet of the dead Lazarus had been kept and used by him in memory of his resurrection. (6) On the hypothesis thus suggested, the suppression of the name stands on the same footing as that of the name of the sister of Lazarus, who poured the precious ointment on our Lord’s head at Bethany (Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3), whom the Evangelists must have known, but whom they mention simply as a “woman.” Their lips were sealed as to the family of Bethany until the circumstances, whatever they may have been, that called for silence had passed away. It is obvious that so far as this identity is established it suggests many thoughts of profound interest. What had seemed impossible to men had proved possible with God. He who had gone away sorrowful because he had great possessions, had given freely to the poor (see Notes on Matthew 26:6; Matthew 26:9), and had proved more faithful than the Twelve, and so the last had become the first.

Mark 14:51-52. There followed him a certain young man — The ancients, or at least many of them, supposed, that the young man here mentioned by Mark was one of the apostles; though Grotius wonders how they could entertain such an idea, and apprehends it was some youth who lodged in a country-house, near the garden, who ran out in a hurry to see what was the matter, in his night vestment, or in his shirt, as we should express it. Dr. Macknight thinks it might be “the proprietor of the garden, who, being awakened with the noise, came out in the linen cloth in which he had been lying, cast around his naked body, and, having a respect for Jesus, followed him, forgetting the dress he was in.” And the young men Οι ανεανισκο, a common denomination for soldiers, among the Greeks. “Though this incident, recorded by Mark, may not appear of great moment, it is, in my opinion,” says Dr. Campbell, “one of those circumstances we call picturesque, which, though in a manner unconnected with the story, enlivens the narrative. It must have been late in the night when (as has been very probably conjectured) some young man, whose house lay near the garden, being roused out of sleep by the noise of the soldiers and armed retinue passing by, got up, stimulated by curiosity, wrapped himself (as Casaubon supposes) in the cloth in which he had been sleeping, and ran after them. This is such an incident as is very likely to have happened, but most unlikely to have been invented.” Laid hold on him — Who was only suspected to be Christ’s disciple; but were not permitted to touch them who really were so!

14:43-52 Because Christ appeared not as a temporal prince, but preached repentance, reformation, and a holy life, and directed men's thoughts, and affections, and aims to another world, therefore the Jewish rulers sought to destroy him. Peter wounded one of the band. It is easier to fight for Christ than to die for him. But there is a great difference between faulty disciples and hypocrites. The latter rashly and without thought call Christ Master, and express great affection for him, yet betray him to his enemies. Thus they hasten their own destruction.A certain young man - Who this was we have no means of determining, but it seems not improbable that he may have been the owner of the garden, and that he may have had an understanding with Jesus that he should visit it for retirement when he withdrew from the city. That he was not one of the apostles is clear. It is probable that be was roused from sleep by the noise made by the rabble, and came to render any aid in his power in quelling the disturbance. It is not known why this circumstance is recorded by Mark. It is omitted by all the other evangelists. It may have been recorded to show that the conspirators had instructions to take the "apostles" as well as Jesus, and supposing him to be one of them, they laid hold of him to take him before the high priest; or it "may" have been recorded in order to place his conduct in strong and honorable contrast with the timidity and fear of the disciples, who had all fled. Compare the notes at Matthew 26:56.

A linen cloth cast about his naked body - He was roused from sleep, and probably threw around him, in his haste, what was most convenient. It was common to sleep in linen bed-clothes, and he seized a part of the clothes and hastily threw it round him.

The young men - The Roman soldiers. They were called "young men" because they were made up chiefly of youth. This was a Jewish mode of speaking. See Genesis 14:24; 2 Samuel 2:14; Isaiah 13:18.

Laid hold on him - Supposing him to be one of the apostles.

Mr 14:43-52. Betrayal and Apprehension of Jesus—Flight of His Disciples. ( = Mt 26:47-56; Lu 22:47-53; Joh 18:1-12).

See on [1508]Joh 18:1-12.

Ver. 51,52. This part of the history is only recorded by Mark. What hath made some affirm that this was St. John I cannot tell. John was one of the eleven that were with Christ when Judas came, and though we find him asleep a little before, yet we read not that he was gone to bed, nor can conceive there was any at or near the place. The garment in which he was, in all probability, was a night garment. It is certain it was a loose garment, he could not else, when he was apprehended, have so soon quit himself of it; and being quit of that it seemeth he was quit of all, for the text saith he

fled from them naked; nor doth the text give him the honour to call him a disciple of Christ at large. Probably it was some young man who, being in his bed, and hearing the noise of the multitude going by his lodging with swords and staves, got up, slipped on his night garment, and followed them, to see what the matter was; and they having apprehended Christ, he followed them. And possibly his unusual habit made them take the more notice of him, staying when the disciples were all fled. Nor can the reason be well given why Mark should record such a passage, unless it were to tell us what we must expect from the rage of persecutors, viz. that our own innocency should not defend us. This young man was not concerned in Christ, only came as a spectator, without any arms. But the sword of persecution useth not to distinguish perfectly. The basilisk (they say) will fly at the picture of a man.

And there followed him a certain young man,.... Some think this was John, the beloved disciple, and the youngest of the disciples; others, that it was James, the brother of our Lord; but he does not seem to be any of the disciples of Christ, since he is manifestly distinguished from them, who all forsook him and fled: some have thought, that he was a young man of the house, where Christ and his disciples ate their passover; who had followed him to the garden, and still followed him, to see what would be the issue of things: but it seems most likely, that he was one that lived in an house in Gethsemane, or in or near the garden; who being awaked out of sleep with the noise of a band of soldiers, and others with them, leaped out of bed, and ran out in his shirt, and followed after them, to know what was the matter:

having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; which was either his shirt in which he lay, or one of the sheets, which he took and wrapped himself in, not staying to put on his clothes: though the word "Sindon", is used both by the Targumists (d) and Talmudists (e) for a linen garment; and sometimes even for the outer garment, to which the fringes were fastened (f); and he might take up this in haste, and slip it on, without putting on any inner garment: the word "body", is not in the text, and the phrase , may be rendered, "upon his nakedness"; and answers to in Genesis 9:23 and Leviticus 20:11, and the meaning be, he had only a piece of linen wrapped about his middle, to cover his nakedness; and in this garb ran out, to see what was doing:

and the young men laid hold on him. The Roman soldiers, who were commonly so called: so David's soldiers are called "young men", that were with him, 1 Samuel 21:4; these attempted to lay hold on this young man, taking him to be a disciple of Christ, or one at least affected to him, and did take hold of his linen cloth. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, leave out the words, "the young men". The design of Mark in relating this incident, is to show the rage and fury of these men; who were for sparing none that appeared to be or were thought to be the followers of Christ; so that the preservation of the disciples was entirely owing to the wonderful power of Christ.

(d) Targum in Psal civ. 2. & Lam ii. 20. (e) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 41. 1.((f) Ib. fol 40. 1.

{13} And there followed him a certain young man, having a {m} linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:

(13) Under a pretence of godliness, all things are lawful to those who do violence against Christ.

(m) Which he cast about him, and ran forth after he heard the commotion in the night: by this we may understand with how great licentiousness these villains violently set upon him.

Mark 14:51 introduces a little anecdote peculiar to Mk., the story of an unknown friend, not one of the Twelve, who had joined the company, and did not fly with the rest.—συνηκολούθει α., was following Jesus; when He was being led away, and after the disciples had fled.—περι βεβλημένος σινδόνα ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ: this suggests that the youth, on hearing some sudden report, rose out of his bed and rushed out in his night-shirt, or, being absolutely naked, hurriedly threw about his body a loose cotton or linen sheet. The statement that on being laid hold of he cast off the garment favours the latter alternative.

51. a certain young man] This forms an episode as characteristic of St Mark as that of the two disciples journeying to Emmaus is of St Luke. Some have conjectured he was the owner of the garden of Gethsemane; others Lazarus (see Professor Plumptre’s Article on “Lazarus” in Smith’s Bible Dict.); others Joses, the brother of the Lord; others, a youth of the family where Jesus had eaten the Passover. It is far more probable that it was St Mark himself, the son of Mary, the friend of St Peter. The minuteness of the details given points to him. Only one well acquainted with the scene from personal knowledge, probably as an eyewitness, would have introduced into his account of it so slight and seemingly so trivial an incident as this.

having a linen cloth] He had probably been roused from sleep, or just preparing to retire to rest in a house somewhere in the valley of Kidron, and he had nothing to cover him except the sindôn or upper garment, but in spite of this he ventured in his excitement to press on amongst the crowd. The word sindôn in Matthew 27:59, Mark 15:46 and Luke 23:53 is applied to the fine linen, which Joseph of Arimathæa bought for the Body of Jesus. The LXX. use the word in Jdg 14:12 and in Proverbs 31:24 for “fine under garments.”

the young men] This is omitted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Tregelles. The crowd was probably astonished at the strange apparition.

Mark 14:51. Σινδόνα, a linen cloth) He was therefore rich, Matthew 11:8.—ἐπὶ γυμνοῦ, upon his naked) viz. body. He had perhaps by this time gone to bed.—κρατοῦσιν, lay hold) He had not been desired to follow. No one tried to apprehend the disciples: this young man was apprehended by either the armed men or others.[3]

[3] The Germ. Vers. approves of the omission of the subject οἱ νεανίσκο., though that omission has been less approved of by the margin of the larger Ed. and of Ed. 2.—E. B. It is omitted in BC corrected later, DLΔac Memph. Syr. Vulg. However AP supports the words with Rec. Text.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 51. - And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over his naked body: and they lay hold on him. St. Mark is the only evangelist who mentions this incident; and there seems good reason for supposing that he here describes what happened to himself. Such is the mode in which St. John refers to himself in his Gospel, and where there can be no doubt that he is speaking of himself. If the conclusion in an earlier part of this commentary be correct, that it was at the house to which John Mark belonged that our Lord celebrated the Passover, and from whence he went out to the Mount of Olives; what more probable than that Mark had been with him on that occasion, and had perhaps a presentiment that something was about to happen to him? What more likely than that the crowd who took Jesus may have passed by this house, and that Mark may have been roused from his bed (it was now a late hour) by the tumult. Having a linen cloth (σινδόνα) cast about his naked body. The sindon was a fine linen cloth, indicating that he belonged to a family in good circumstances. It is an unusual word. In every other place of the New Testament where it is used it refers to the garment or shroud used to cover the bodies of the dead. The sindon is supposed to take its name from Sidon, where the particular kind of linen was manufactured of which the garment was made. It was a kind of light cloak frequently worn in hot weather. Mark 14:51Linen cloth (σινδόνα)

The probable derivation is from Ἰνδός, an Indian: India being the source from which came this fine fabric used for wrapping dead bodies, and in which Christ's body was enveloped. See Matthew 27:59; Mark 15:46; Luke 23:53.

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