Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
If you read the story of the arrest of Jesus as told in Mark 14, verses 51 and 52, we hear the story of a "certain young man" whose name is not given. He was following Jesus, but was not one of the Twelve. Since he seemed to be with the disciples, or at least on their side, the temple police tried to arrest him the same time they arrested Jesus. They grabbed him by his clothes, which consisted of a simple linen cloak.
Who this young man was Mark does not tell us, but through the centuries people have understood that he is describing himself. He was afraid, he didn't want to be arrested with Jesus, he didn't want to suffer with Him. (Well, who did? All the Eleven fled also.)
We may say, Yes, we want to be with Jesus; Yes, we want to get as close as possible to Him. But that's just what Peter said, and look how he denied Him.
Well, young Mark was what we might call a coward. Instead of saying, "Gentlemen of the police, if you wish to arrest Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, it is an honor for me to be arrested with Him," Mark resisted arrest. He freed himself from the grasp of the temple police and ran as fast as his young legs would carry him. But he left the police holding his clothes. Off he ran, stark naked!
Later, Mark was invited by Barnabas to go on a missionary trip with Paul, the apostle. But when the going got tough, again Mark deserted. Barnabas wanted to forgive him and take him back on the "team," but Paul refused. Enough is enough, Paul said. So they split. Barnabas going one way and Paul another (see Acts 15:36-41).
But the good news is that years later, Mark was able to overcome his weakness; he grew strong in the Lord; and in 2 Timothy 4:11 we read that Paul asks Timothy to "get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry."
And thus we are introduced to one of the celebrated authors of the New Testament. He got his start by being a coward, but he ended up being brave and faithful. A beautiful story of how someone weak became strong. That's good news for all of us.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
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