A naked Florida man was recently arrested, after giving Pennsylvania law enforcement a bit of a run for their money, in a stolen school bus of all things. And if it’s not abundantly clear to you how this relates to the rest of what’s going on in the world, I will confess, I’m in the same boat – or school bus, as the case may be.
But did I mention there was a dead deer in the back of the school bus? Maybe that makes no difference. And maybe it’s just randomness. Here is another little bit of chaos, in the midst of so much else that is disorderly, which some would say we mistakenly presume can be made orderly the majority of the time, if only the proper application of time and attention is afforded.
Then again, maybe not. Regardless, whatever you do with this information, now you know this is a thing that can happen in the world as it is today, and we must carry on.
Yet I’m still stuck on the deer bit in the Florida man story. And that has me thinking about Leviticus 3:1, for some strange reason, and how God required flawless specimens for his sacrificial animals.
Only the best for God, which does make perfect sense, particularly if we remember that Yahweh is not a God of chaos, but a God of order, particularly where worship is concerned.
“If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before Yahweh.“Leviticus 3:1
This fits the call for us to be holy for God is holy. It also fits with the fact that Jesus could not have provided our all-sufficient atonement in his death, burial, and resurrection were it not for his having been spotless, without blemish, and morally perfect.
That Naked Guy in Mark’s Gospel
Speaking of the crucifixion. Have you ever noticed a passing detail in Mark’s gospel, during the account of the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane, of a certain young man who was in the vicinity wearing nothing but a sheet? What was up with that guy?
Florida man strikes again!
“And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.”Mark 14:51-52
As it turns out, a lot of people have speculated down through the years that the young man in view here was John Mark, the author himself, who had fallen asleep like the rest of the disciples while Jesus was praying to the Father about letting that cup pass from him. But this would be to say John Mark more or less slept in the buff, except for the darkness and that linen sheet covering him.
This is also to say that I myself wonder who this man was, and why the text doesn’t tell us. You can thank, or blame, as the case may be, JP Chavez, my neighbor two houses down, for bringing the passage up to me and our mutual friend Roy around the time of this year’s Resurrection Sunday.
As I told them, “All Scripture is breathed out by God,” just as the Apostle Paul tells us. And that must include the details here in Mark. But the “and profitable” leaves a lot of people, including us, scratching heads sometimes, like when it says this particular young man ran away naked. Why is this a significant detail?
Say This Of Your Own Accord
Speculative, perhaps, I think we can reasonably infer from this that, though we should like either more or fewer details in such cases, these details, and no more, were those which the Holy Spirit determined beneficial here. So there must be a profit, but we may have to do some digging and pondering to get at said benefit.
“So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”John 18:33-34
Is another passage like this perhaps a clue for us, both in understanding the latest installment of the Florida man chronicles, and also the streaker in Mark’s gospel? I dare say it might be.
Here we have the governing authority of Rome, judging an innocent man brought to him because angry locals want him put to death. They know how they feel, but the particular accusations which will deliver the desired outcome can be malleable enough.
Pilate probably doesn’t care a whit if Jesus is a blasphemer against the God of the Jews. Or else what would Rome care of the truth about the God of the Jews, that someone would blaspheme against Him?
So those who seek to rid themselves of Jesus once and for all say this man is setting himself up as a rival king to Caesar. That’ll get Pilate’s attention. And if they throw in that word might just get back to the emperor of a weak or indifferent response to a seditious claim in Palestine, particularly if that’s coupled with an uprising of angry Jews, Pilate will know what he needs to do next.
Reading Between the Lines
This is to say, the men and women written about in the Bible certainly are shown reading between the lines, and we should similarly learn how to as well, both in our lives and when we come to the Biblical text.
Thus the flight of the naked young man during the arrest of Jesus can take on significance both for his anonymity and for his nakedness, his shame, his humiliation, and his poverty, even if only lasting so long as it took him to find someone who would lend him substitutionary covering.
Wait a moment. What have we there? Could it be a picture of our need for covering, like that which Adam and Eve had after their sin in another garden? In that case, too, God provided the clothes from animal skins after fig leaves proved inadequate.
But if there is significance to these parallels, which we should assume there is, when God is a God of order rather than chaos, we were all that young man, in a certain sense. Running naked into the dark night as Jesus was being arrested, we too needed a covering for our nakedness because we too had sinned.
Perhaps this is why we are given the details we are, and the young man is not named.
This Episode’s Links:
- Nude Florida man arrested after wild chase in stolen school bus with a dead deer in the back – Michele Blood, The Blaze
- Who Was That Young Man? – Abraham Kuruvilla, Voice, Dallas Theological Seminary
- Judge Overseeing Trump’s Hush Money Case Donated To Biden Campaign – The Daily Wire
- Two-Thirds Of Americans Say Biden Does Not Deserve Another Term As President – Tim Pearce, DW
- A dire warning in the wake of trans violence last week… – Harris Rigby, NTB
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