At the end of yesterday’s scripture about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, in Mark 14:51-2, we read these intriguing words:
One young man, a disciple, was wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They grabbed him, but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked.
Who was this mysterious young man, and why does Mark choose to include this intriguing detail? (His is the only gospel that mentions the incident.)
We’ll never know for sure (at least until resurrection), but many scholars believe that this is the author himself making a cameo appearance. Is this Mark’s Alfred Hitchcock moment? If you recall, Hitchcock famously made a cameo appearance in nearly all of his films. It’s such a curious and specific detail that it does seem like someone that the author knew personally.
In his For Everyone commentary, Tom Wright speculates about this but also uses the incident to make a connection between Jesus’ disciples and another naked man (and woman) in another biblical garden:
Finally, we have the young man who, like Joseph in Genesis 39.12, escapes by leaving his garment behind. It’s often been suggested that this was Mark himself (the other gospels don’t mention the incident); though it’s impossible to prove it, it is a quite reasonable guess. Whether or not that is so, the imagery is striking, going back as far as Genesis 3. Like Adam and Eve, the disciples are metaphorically, and in this case literally, hiding their naked shame in the garden. Their disgrace is complete.
Finally, I prepared the following video on the Garden of Gethsemane, which we showed in Vinebranch yesterday.
 Tom Wright, Mark for Everyone (Louisville, KY: WJK, 2004), 200.