The naked man
Shortly before his arrest Jesus spent time by himself in prayer.
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.”
And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Mark 14:32-42)
This incident was also recorded by Matthew and Luke.
Have you ever wondered how the gospel writers knew what Jesus prayed? Peter, James, and John were the only disciples who were close enough to have heard him and they were asleep. Unbelievers have cited this incident as proof that many if not all of the things recorded in the gospels are the product of the writers’ imaginations.
If you read a little farther you will find the answer to this question.
And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.”
And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”And they all left him and fled. (Mark 14:43-50)
Immediately after this Mark includes an incident that is not recorded in any of the other gospels.
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)
Who was this young man? Most Bible students believe that it was Mark, the author of the gospel. Perhaps Jesus and his disciples passed by Mark’s house on their way to Gethsemane. Mark was in bed and when he saw them pass he wrapped a cloth around himself and followed without taking time to dress. He could have been close enough to hear Jesus praying and after the resurrection he told the other believers what had happened.
Even if it wasn’t Mark, he could still have overheard Jesus praying. This answers the question of how the gospel writers knew what Jesus had prayed.