Mark: Down But Not Out

Mark 14:51-52
A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

The young man in today’s passage is not identified, but many believe he was John Mark, the writer of this gospel. This story is found only in Mark’s gospel. Most agree that Mark lived in Jerusalem with his mother, Mary, during the days of the early church. Their house was used as a meeting place (Acts 12:12) and it is possible that the Last Supper took place in their home. John Mark was not one of the twelve disciples, but was in the garden of Gethsemane during Jesus’ arrest and ran from those trying to seize him.

It is probable that Mark was greatly influenced by Peter and based much of his gospel on Peter’s teaching. Peter calls him “my son” (1 Peter 5:13). Mark keeps his gospel concise. It is the shortest of the four. His words are pastoral. Most believe he was writing to Christians in Rome who were facing persecution. He reminded them who Jesus was and what it meant to follow Him.

Mark knew what it was like to be down. As mentioned, he fled in the garden. Later Mark teamed up with Paul and Barnabas on a missionary trip, but for some reason Mark “deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work” (Acts 15:38). Paul refused to take Mark on the next trip, which led to a sharp disagreement with Barnabas and the dissolution of their team. However, Mark continued to grow and prove his worth and commitment to Christ. Paul came to admire Mark and wanted Mark to be with him during his final days (2 Timothy 4:11). Mark’s life reminds us that failure is never fatal.

Father, I pray for anyone who has failed and fallen. Remind them that they do not have to stay down. Help them learn from Mark that the best days are still ahead. You can pick us up and give us the strength and courage to do great things for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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