What does Mark 14:51 mean?
ESV: And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him,
NIV: A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him,
NASB: A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they *seized him.
CSB: Now a certain young man, wearing nothing but a linen cloth, was following him. They caught hold of him,
NLT: One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him,
KJV: And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
NKJV: Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him,
Verse Commentary:
"Linen cloth" is sindon, originally from an unknown language. It is a fine cloth used as a loose robe or to wrap the dead.

The Scriptures never say who this young man is, but scholars postulate it is Mark, himself. John-Mark is the cousin of Barnabas, Paul's evangelism partner. He travels with Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:5) but abandons them partway through (Acts 15:37–38). Paul refuses to take him on their next trip, but Barnabas wishes to give his cousin a second chance. So Paul and Barnabas split up, and Barnabas takes Mark (Acts 15:39–41). This makes sense, since "Barnabas" means "son of encouragement" (Acts 4:36). Sometime later, Mark and Paul are reconciled (Philemon 1:24; 2 Timothy 4:11).

If the young man is Mark, it's not clear why he is here. As far as we can tell, Jesus celebrated Passover only with the twelve disciples (Mark 14:17), and they followed Him to Gethsemane (Mark 14:32). But tens of thousands of travelers have come to Jerusalem for the Passover, and it's reasonable to assume many have camped on the Mount of Olives. It's possible Mark's family is camped nearby and he's come to see what is going on, clad only in the thin blanket he was sleeping in.

Some have suggested the boy lives in the home in which Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover. This is possible. Mark's mother apparently lived in Jerusalem. In Acts 12:1–5, Herod Agrippa imprisons Peter during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is held in Jerusalem. After angels help Peter escape, Peter runs to Mark's mother's home (Acts 12:12).

But all this is speculation; Scripture doesn't explicitly tell us who this young man is. Only these two verses mention this incident.
Verse Context:
Mark 14:51–52 contains a detail found only in Mark's Gospel. This leads biblical scholars to think the young man may be Mark, himself. Whatever the case may be, this young man has apparently witnessed the events described in the previous verses. Jesus has been mourning and weeping, Judas comes and kisses Him in greeting. A mob of guards and servants arrest Jesus. A sword appears, slashing off the ear of a servant. Jesus' followers flee, and the boy tries to do the same. Whether he realized it at the time or not, this young man is watching the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is anointed in a symbolic anticipation of His death. Judas decides to secretly cooperate with local religious leaders to arrest Jesus in secret. During the Passover meal, Jesus predicts His betrayal by Judas, and Peter's denial. He also institutes the Lord's Supper, also known as communion. After praying on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is captured when Judas identifies Him to a hostile mob sent by Jewish authorities. He endures a corrupt, prejudiced trial, ending in a conviction for blasphemy. Peter, fearing for his life, lies about knowing Jesus, before remembering Jesus' prediction and breaking down in sobs.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has finished His public teaching ministry and now prepares for the crucifixion. His sacrificial loyalty will provide the means by which the disciples' abandonment will be forgiven. Next, the Romans, as representatives of Gentiles throughout history, will join the Jews and kill Jesus. Jesus will be buried, but He will rise again with the promise that His sacrifice will redeem the world. Matthew 26 and Luke 22 follow Mark 14 more closely while John 13:1—18:27 records more of Jesus' teaching in the upper room.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
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