Sermon #67††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† Mark Sermons

 

††††††††† Title:††††††††† ďHE FLED FROM THEM NAKEDĒ

††††††††† Text:††††††††††† Mark 14:43-52

††††††††† Subject:†††††† The Saviorís Arrest In The Garden

††††††††† Date:††††††††††† Sunday Morning -, 1998

††††††††† Tape #†††††††† U-98b

††††††††† Reading:††††† Psalm 22:1-31

††††††††† Introduction:

 

Mark 14:43-52"And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 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: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked."

 

††††††††† Like you, when reading this passage, the thing that immediately caught my attention was this certain young man who ďfled from them naked.Ē Who was he? Why was he running around wrapped in a sheet, with no clothes on? Why did he flee away naked?

 

††††††††† Since we are all curious about things like that, I promise to deal with that before we leave this morning. That promise ought to keep everyone paying attention. So, letís look at this passage of Holy Scripture dealing with our Saviorís arrest in the garden, and ask God the Holy Spirit to inscribe its lessons upon our hearts.

 

Divisions: I will direct your attention to five things in these verses.

 

1.   The Enemies of God

2.   The Kingdom of God

3.   The Word of God

4.   The People of God

5.   The Gospel of God

 

I.     THE ENEMIES OF GOD

 

††††††††† Our text opens by identifying the enemies of God. I will not spend much time on this. Our Lordís enemies are not worth much time. But, we do need to ever be aware of who his enemies are and where they are found. His enemies are the same in all ages and found in the same places. And you can be sure of this - Our Lordís enemies are our enemies. We will be wise to know who they are and where they are found. Notice how they are identified for us in verse 43.

 

        Judas, one of the twelve.

        The Roman Soldiers - a great multitude with swords and staves.

        The chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders.

 

††††††††† Our Lords enemies and ours are ever to be found among the people of the world. That is no surprise. We expect the world to oppose Christ, the gospel of his grace, and us, as we preach it.

 

††††††††† If we preach the gospel, insisting that men have no righteousness of their own, declaring that the only righteousness there is is the righteousness of God in Christ, we expect the worldís opposition. The offense of the cross has not ceased (Matt. 5:10-12).

 

Matthew 5:10-12"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

 

††††††††† We have come to expect opposition and persecution from religionists as well. The lost religious people of this world, being duped, deceived, lied to, and instigated by their leaders, their chief priests, their scribes, and their elders, being ignorant of Christ and the gospel of Godís free and sovereign grace in him, are historically the most incessant persecutors of Godís saints in the world. Normally, the politicians of the world have become persecutors of believers only when instigated (as here) by God hating religionists who are too good in their own eyes to need grace, substitution, and imputed righteousness.

 

        No one hates grace like lost religionists!

 

        There is no missionary field in the world more needy or more hostile today than the professed church of this reprobate age.

 

††††††††† We expect to find our enemies in the world and even in the religious world around us. But, often, the Lordís enemies and ours are wolves in sheepís clothing and, like Judas - one of the twelve, are found in the house of his friends.

†††††††††

Psalms 41:9"Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

 

Psalms 55:12-13"For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance."

 

††††††††† Our Lord warned us repeatedly, as did his apostles throughout the New Testament, that our most dangerous foes are those whom we least suspect, those who are, by profession, our brothers, sisters, and friends.

 

††††††††† These warnings are given, not to make us suspicious and wary of one another, but to prepare us for the shock and pain of betrayal.

 

Matthew 10:24-26"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known."

 

II. THE KINGDOM OF GOD

 

††††††††† Second, we must never expect the people of this world, neither the politicians, nor the educators, nor the religionists of this world, to understand the nature of the kingdom of God. In fact, our Lordís own disciples did not grasp what he taught in this regard at the time.

 

††††††††† This blood thirsty mob came out against the Lord Jesus, like they were hunting for a wild, murdering revolutionary, with swords and clubs. When they did, one of the Lordís disciples drew out a sword and cut off the high priestís servantís ear. John tells us that that bold, zealous, but mistaken disciple was Peter. But the Lord Jesus stopped the conflict by healing the manís ear, as Luke tells us.

 

††††††††† The chief priests and scribes clung tenaciously to the errant idea that Messiahís kingdom would be a worldly, political, Zionist kingdom. They therefore expected that this man who claimed to be the Messiah would defend his kingdom with the sword. They came prepared for a blood letting conflict.

 

††††††††† Our Lord later told Pilate, plainly, that his kingdom is not of this world. This is a lesson which still needs to be taught.

 

John 18:36"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

 

††††††††† The kingdom of God is not, has never been, and can never be built, promoted, and propagated by the arm of the flesh. The cause of truth does not need political, legislative, or carnal force to maintain it.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4"(The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)"

 

Zechariah 4:6"Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."

 

††††††††† Papacy, Mahometanism, Hinduism, and Judaism must have the sword to survive. The kingdom of God stands not by the sword, but in spite of it.

 

††††††††† False religion depends upon and survives by every carnal means imaginable: programs, puppet shows, entertainment, bake sales, tricks, gimmicks, rituals, and ceremonies - Whatever it takes is what is done!

 

††††††††† The church and kingdom of God, the gospel of his grace stands by the power of God the Holy Spirit, by the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and the effectual operations of his grace in the hearts of men by the Word.

 

Hebrews 4:12"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

 

††††††††† If we would do Godís work, in Godís name, for Godís glory, it must be done in Godís way.

 

        The church of God can only be built by the preaching of the gospel.

 

        Our needs are supplied by the generous giving of Godís people, as they are directed by the Spirit of God.

 

III. THE WORD OF GOD

 

††††††††† Everything that happened to our Savior, everything he suffered at the hands of ungodly, reprobate men, from Gethsemane to Calvary was written hundreds of years before in the Word of God. These men, by their wicked deeds, not only fulfilled the Scriptures, they stand as unanswerable arguments for the infallible, inerrant, verbal inspiration of the Word of God.

 

Mark 14:48-49"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled."

 

Acts 13:26-29"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. 28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. 29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre."

 

††††††††† The rage of his enemies, the betrayal of Judas, the price of the betrayal (30 pieces of silver!), the forsaking of his friends, our Lordís being dealt with as a malefactor, numbered with the transgressors, the piercing of his hands and feet, the parting of his raiment, all were precisely foretold in the Word of God.

 

††††††††† Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 were precisely fulfilled, exactly as they were written. How can we account for these things?

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

 

2 Peter 1:19-21"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."

 

††††††††† Everything that took place in the sufferings of the Son of God was ordered and ordained by God, written in his Word, and brought to pass by his hand for the ransom of our souls, to make atonement for our sin.

 

††††††††† Those armed men Judas brought with him to take the Master, Judas, the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the Jews, Herod, and Pilate, were but the hands of God, unconscious instruments of his sovereignty, by which he accomplished his purpose!

 

Psalms 17:13-14"Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: 14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes."

 

††††††††† Children of God, here is rest for our souls, a soft, soft pillow for our aching heads. Everything and everyone in this world is ruled by the wisdom, grace, and goodness of our omnipotent God!

 

        The course of this world is usually contrary to our desires.

        The church of God seems always to be struggling to survive.

        The wickedness of men appears to abound on every hand.

        The inconsistencies of our brethren often hurt and disturb us.

        Our own sins and inconsistencies disappoint and disturb many, and cause us great distress.

 

††††††††† But he who is our God and heavenly Father knows exactly what he is doing. And he always does only that which is absolutely best. He is simply fulfilling his purpose, working out his plan, accomplishing his predestination, fulfilling his Word.

 

Psalms 2"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. 10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."

 

††††††††† On the resurrection morning, when all things are made manifest, our Lord will show that even in the most distressing times and circumstances, he was simply fulfilling his wise and holy will.

 

IV. THE PEOPLE OF GOD

 

††††††††† Again and again, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the faults and failures, fickleness and falls, sins and shortcomings of the people of God in this world. Look at verse 50.

 

Mark 14:50"And they all forsook him, and fled."

 

††††††††† Noahís drunkenness, Abrahamís fear, Lotís choice, Davidís adultery and murder, Peterís fall, and the abandonment of our Lord by all his disciples in the garden are things recorded for our learning. They are written to teach us and remind us thatÖ

 

A. All flesh is grass.

 

B. Salvation is of the Lord.

 

C. Our only righteousness is that which God has given us in Christ.

 

D. We are kept and preserved by grace alone.

 

E. We must never place any confidence in ourselves.

 

††††††††† With these faithful, faithful men, faith gave way to fear. Overwhelmed by their circumstances, they all forsook their Savior and fled.

 

        We ought to be humbled before the Lord, knowing that our flesh is just like theirs, weak and prone to any and every sin.

 

        How charitable we should be to our erring, fallen, inconsistent brothers and sisters.

 

        We ought to be most thankful to our God for his faithful, preserving grace.

 

        We should ever be mindful of and give praise to our God for such a sympathizing High Priest as our Lord Jesus Christ is, touched with the feeling of our infirmities.

 

††††††††† If there is one trial more difficult to bear than any other, I think it must be disappointment, betrayal, or abandonment by one who is close and trusted as a friend, companion, or loved one. But there is one faithful Friend who never disappoints his friends; and his compassions fail not!

 

Lamentations 3:21-24"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him."

 

††††††††† Now, letís look at verses 51 and 52, at this young man who ďfled from them naked,Ē and learn something aboutÖ

 

V. THE GOSPEL OF GOD.

 

Mark 14:51-52"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: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked."

 

††††††††† We are not told who this young man was. Probably because no one knew his name. It seems that he was awakened in the middle of the night by all the commotion going on around him. He seems to have simply wrapped a sheet around himself to step outside and see what was going happening. As he followed the crowd, trying to see, the soldiers grabbed him. So furious was the blood thirsty mob that they were ready to arrest and kill anyone even suspected of being a follower of Jesus. Realizing the danger he had unwittingly stepped into, this young man ďfled from them naked,Ē leaving his sheet behind.

 

††††††††† My question is this - Why is this, seemingly insignificant event written in the Book of God? I know it is written for our learning, that we might through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures have hope (Rom. 15:4). But what are we to learn from this event?

 

††††††††† The only thing that makes any sense to me seems very far fetched to most of the commentators. Be that as it may, this young man seems to me to be a portrayal of the gospel itself, a picture of a sinner redeemed by the blood of Christ. He seems to be a providential antitype of what took place on the day of atonement and at the ceremonial cleansing of the leper (Lev. 16:22; 14:7).

 

        When the leper was cleansed, one bird was killed and the other bird, being dipped in the dead birds blood, was set free.

 

        One the day of atonement one goat was slain and the other set free.

 

        Even so, in the gospel, we learn that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain for us, and we are set free, just as he was taken in the garden and this young man fled away to freedom.

 

††††††††† I have no idea whether that is why this event is recorded; but I do know by the glorious experience of grace that the allegory is true! The law of God and hell itself held me in its grip; but when it took my Substitute, I fled away to freedom.

 

††††††††† The law stripped me naked. Fearing for my life, I left my filthy rags of self-righteousness in its teeth, and fled away naked to Christ.

 

Nothing in my hands I bring.

Simply to Thy cross I cling.

Helpless, look to Thee for grace,

Naked, look to Thee for dress!

 

Illustration: A. J. Gordon and the Two lack Birds