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Mark 14:52

ESV but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.
NIV he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
NASB But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.
CSB but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked.
NLT he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.
KJV And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

What does Mark 14:52 mean?

None of the other Gospels include the account of the naked boy, which leads scholars to think it is Mark, the author. Mark traveled with his cousin Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey through Asia Minor. He deserted them partway through, earning Paul's ire. But he stayed with Barnabas for his second tour and reconciled with Paul (Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11). He must have been familiar with the church in Jerusalem and it's thought he wrote his Gospel with the help of Peter.

It is according to the Law that the men of Israel are to gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. This is to be done on the 14th of Nisan, and the men then stay for the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. In Jesus' time, many Jews live in Judea, the territory that includes Jerusalem. North, on the other side of Samaria, is Galilee, the region where Jesus, most of the disciples, and hundreds of thousands of other Jews, live. East of Judea, across the Jordan River, is Perea, where even more Jews are settled.

Because of all of these factors, scholars estimate Jerusalem hosts 200,000 more men than usual during the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread. The city would not have enough room to house all these people, so the travelers sleep wherever they can. The Mount of Olives is not as densely populated as Jerusalem, and Jesus and the disciples have spent every night there (Luke 21:37). Possibly, this young man is camping there, as well.

Although the young man is not identified as a follower of Jesus, the guards have good reason to keep him from escaping. Throughout the week, the Jewish leaders have looked for an opportunity to arrest Jesus away from the crowds (Mark 14:1–2). Galileans have a historical habit of rebelling against the Roman rulers, resulting in a great deal of collateral damage. The last thing the Jewish leaders want is a war in Jerusalem. They don't want the young man to alert the crowd who believe Jesus is the Messiah (Mark 11:1–10).
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