I love the older kids, but I've also enjoyed seeing the wonder and excitement in the eyes of the younger group.
At the end of one of our lessons, I threw out the idea to the class that they were now old enough to read the Bible for themselves. They were all reading well, and there was no reason why they couldn't take a Bible, whether in book or on their phones or tablets, and read a verse or two every day. My fifth grade teacher encouraged me greatly in that area, (thank you Diana Postelwaite, wherever you are!), and the idea had never crossed my mind until she mentioned it. It was interesting watching the facial expressions when I said it - a mixture of shock, empowerment, enlightenment and disbelief. It was awesome. And then the hand went up. :)
First - third graders LOVE to share. And this little fellow raised his hand, started telling how he and his Dad read together from the Bible every night, and how earlier in the week they had read about the naked person. I don't think I need to tell you that several things happened at this point: the girls started giggling, the 6th grade boys on the back row sat up straight, my mind is racing to think of where he might have been reading (I was thinking of the demon possessed man who would strip and throw himself in the fire), and I saw Bobby and Wil Mincy's faces wrinkle in the same expression as they too were trying to think of where.
"The naked man?" I asked.
"Yeah. He didn't have a name. You know, it's right before Jesus dies, before he goes to Pilate."
And now I'm totally baffled. 41 years of church and four years at a conservative Bible college, and I have NO CLUE what this child is talking about.
At this point Wil (a sixth grader who the class thinks is exceptionally smart because he remembers small details), raised his hand and said "I think he means Peter, who cut the eat off of the servant." The young boy is shaking his head no and I look to Bobby who has this bemused and awkward smile on his face.
"No," the little boy says. "It's there. In Mark. They grabbed this man who was following Jesus, and he got scared, and he pulled out of his clothes and ran home naked."
And now the giggles and shocked expressions are growing. I look to Bobby for help, and he sheepishly nods. I raise my eyebrows, and he proceeds to tell the class this passage:
I don't know how I ever missed this passage. It's not recorded in any other Gospel, leaving many historians to assume the young man was Mark himself. The NIV, which is more of a meaning paraphrase translation, listed above, makes it sound as if he was not wearing underwear but normal outerwear. The NASB version, which is a more literal translation, makes it sound a little more suspect and shady.
Whatever the reason, I cannot imagine the fear and the chaos of that night. A time of prayer and exhaustion, high emotions and charges, followed by armed guards and fights, an arrest, and a young man running away naked.
These are the details that I love in Scripture. It shows the horror, the reality, the emotions, and the extremely personal eyewitness accounts of its authors. There are so many things I've never noticed or paid much attention to before. But this is one of the clothing items mentioned in the Easter story that I don't think I'll ever forget.