St. Mark 14:1-15:47
In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The only thing really unique to Mark’s Passion, that which isn’t in Matthew, is the detail about a certain young man who escaped naked when the soldiers grabbed at him, but were left holding what sounds like a blanket that he had thrown over his shoulders, while he slipped away. It is generally assumed that this young man was Mark himself. The fact that the young man was naked under a blanket indicates that he has come to Gethsemane, with the eleven disciples, while Judas was betraying the Lord, in haste. It may also mean that he lived in the house where the Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper and celebrated the Passover with His disciples. He might have been a naughty boy who had followed uninvited and got caught up in things he didn’t understand.
Mark sticks this detail in right after citing the fulfillment of the Lord’s earlier prophecy. Jesus had said that Father would strike Him, the Shepherd, and all of them, even boisterous Peter, would be scattered. Mark writes: “They all forsook Him and fled.” Then he gives the account of what is probably his own, personal failure, with the added embarrassment that he ran away naked. If Mark is the young man and is the disciple of Peter, as is generally thought, then this might well be his way of offering some small comfort to Peter. All forsook and fled. None were able to stand in that great test. Peter wasn’t the only failure.
There is comfort in that. Nothing has befallen you that is not common to man. As bad as you might be, as shameful as your secrets are, they aren’t really that special or interesting or creative. You are not less selfish, but not more selfish either, than Peter or Mark or the other people gathered here today. We are all sinners who have fallen short of the Law.
But the real mfort that Peter and Mark and we all need is not found in our common failures, but in the Father striking the Shepherd so that the sheep would be scattered and Jesus go alone ot the cross. Their failure is His victory. It is necessary that He go alone and procure for them and for us what only He can win and pay for.
Here is the passage from Zechariah 13:7–9 (KJV 1900)
7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow,
Saith the Lord of hosts:
Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered:
And I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord,
Two parts therein shall be cut off and die;
But the third shall be left therein.
9 And I will bring the third part through the fire,
And will refine them as silver is refined,
And will try them as gold is tried:
They shall call on my name, and I will hear them:
I will say, It is my people:
And they shall say, The Lord is my God.
The Father smites the Shepherd. Many are called but few are chosen. The Father smites the Shepherd that He might bring a third through the fire, refine them as silver is refined. They, Peter and Mark and we, shall then call upon His Name and He will hear us. He says: “They are my people. I am not ashamed of them.” And we say: “The smitten Shepherd with stripes on His back and scars in His hand and feet, He who has gone to the cross alone for us, He is the Lord, our God and we are not ashamed of Him.”
And maybe that is why Jesus leaves a blanket in the tomb. He leaves it for Mark who lost his.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.