There are lots of debates over the the way and manner the Book of Mark was concluded. One of the most confusing accounts I found in Mark ending is the young man that fled naked.

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 ESV).

Was the young man in the scripture above one of the disciples?

5 Answers 5


And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his unclothedness ; and the young men laid hold on him. And he left the linen cloth and fled from them, unclothed. Mark 14:51,52.

[KJV, slightly altered with respect to the matter of clothing]

That Mark says 'a certain' young man, without naming him, is very reminiscent of John's way of mentioning himself without actually doing so. I don't believe that in either of their cases it is false modesty. I believe it is a valid technique when one is obliged to mention oneself in a report.

Mark's account is the only one to include this detail and in this he, unusually, differs from Matthew, from which (it may well be) he drew the majority of his factual data.

It is my own personal surmise that Mark read the book of Matthew and realised that there was another book buried within it, that deserved to be extracted and to stand separate. But it is a surmise, only.

Mark's account is also the only one to include the matter of the young man sitting on the right side in the sepulchre, clothed in a long white garment. Mark 16:5. And the two incidents are striking in their content and in their relationship to one another.

A garment 'cast about' and then relinquished in flight.

A garment, long (fully clothing) and white (clean and pure) ; and a seated, composed situation on the right hand (available for service).

There is quite clearly spiritual truth to be drawn from these two places regarding the faulty following of a Christ on earth that leads to betrayal and shame - and the faithful following of a risen Christ that results in composed, restful faith and an availability for fruitful service.

We see this also revealed in Mark's own life as reported in Acts and in the epistles. Returning to Jerusalem, he 'went not with them to the work'. And caused a permanent rift between Barnabas and Paul.

John Mark (or 'Marcus' for his name is a Roman one) was Barnabas' nephew, the son of Mary, Barnabas' sister, Acts 12:12,13. And associated with that house was a damsel named Rhoda who answered the door when Peter was released from prison by the angel.

Was it a family matter that caused Mark to return to Jerusalem ?

Did John Mark have a Roman father, that his surname was 'Marcus' ? And having a Roman father and a Jewish mother, did Mark meet with discrimination, perhaps, from both Jews and Romans ? And was that a discouragement to him ?

But later, both Peter and Paul commend Mark in their epistles and Peter 'adopts' the young man with a (possibly estranged) Roman father :

Marcus, my son : I Peter 5:13. [I do not accept that it is a different Marcus.]

Take Mark and bring him with thee for he is profitable to the ministry. I Timothy 4:11.

So in writing the book of Mark, I can see that Mark was well placed to appreciate and understand the matters of which he wrote and I strongly suspect (myself) that he is the young man who fled.

But I have no proof.


My translation of Mark 14:51, 52 is: "And a certain young man was following along with him [Jesus] having been clothed [with] linen on [his] naked [body] and they seize him; but having left behind the linen [garment] he fled naked."

Two things are clear:

  1. The identity of the young man, whether John-Mark or one of the other disciples or someone else, is not revealed,
  2. The young man was naked (mentioned twice) when he fled - a great shame for a Jew in public

I can only presume that this apparently unconnected incident was included to illustrate how desperate those associated with Jesus were to disassociate themselves from Him at His arrest.


The short answer is that the young man is the angel Gabriel.

I answer the question in detail in this related post.


The young man from Nain the widow's son,

Jesus raised the young man from the dead and he followed Jesus.

The account is there because Jesus knew he would follow.

Another time when the disciples couldn't put two and two together to understand the resurrection.

Especially after some saw the linen cloth left behind in the tomb

  • Welcome to the site, Lawrence. The kind of answers looked for on here need to have a bit of depth and explanation included. For instance, although you say this was the widow of Nain's son you don't offer evidence for that. Do take the hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour to see what is looked for.
    – Anne
    Dec 29, 2021 at 13:20
  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Dec 29, 2021 at 13:59
  • @Lawwrence - Scripture is silent on the young man's identity, so is the church's historical writings, and it should be remained as it is. As the two comments above, BH requires more than conjectures.
    – Sam
    Dec 30, 2021 at 0:00
  • The theory that Mark was the young man may have been included in a 13th century Copic footnote but that certainly doesn't make it credible nor historical church writings
    – Lawrence
    Dec 31, 2021 at 11:29

While Lawrence didn't provide the detail expected, He may have been as concerned as the original author of Mark in not posting it. Morton Smith (1915-1991) wrote about having found a letter attributed to Clement of Alexandria (150-215)in one of the libraries of Mar Saba in 1958. This handwritten copy of what is presumed to be a letter of Clement. In it Clement makes reference to two passages from Mark's second secret edition, which Mark purportedly issued for the spiritually elite. The first of the two passages makes reference to a young lady whose brother had just died. At some point Jesus goes to the tomb to hear a loud voice coming from the tomb where the young man was buried. Jesus rolls away a stone in front of its entrance and enters where he takes the young man by the hand and they leave the tomb together only to go to the young man's home. Six days later Jesus commands the young man to do something and the young man comes to him wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They stayed together that night where Jesus taught him about the Kingdom of God. The actual passage is longer than this, but these are the high points. The next and last time we note a young man in a linen cloth is in Mark 14:51 (in the Gospel of Mark in common use today) who was presumably with the apostles in the Garden when Jesus was arrested and fled, covered by nothing but a linen cloth, who left the cloth behind and ran away naked. Assuming that Smith wasn't playing games with his peers by claiming to have found the item, it has not been recovered, I would assume the Secret Gospel passage was omitted from the current Gospel because of suspicion about Jesus' relationship with the all but naked young man. (See Bart Ehrman's Lost Christianities, chapter 4, pub. 2003.)

  • 2
    Hi Tico14, welcome to the site. This answer would benefit from some formatting and greater clarity in answering the original question. Please be sure to take the site tour, and thank you for contributing! Feb 3, 2022 at 15:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.