All-Seminary Chapel Service Observes Holy Week
Chapel features sermon from Fuller Trustee T. Scott Daniels
The Fuller community observed Holy Week in All-Seminary Chapel on Wednesday, April 4, in Travis Auditorium.
Interspersed between songs and Scripture readings, chapel intern Jaclyn Williams and Arthur DeKruyter/Christ Church Oak Brook Professor of Preaching Clayton Schmit each performed a dramatic interpretations of “witnesses”—the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany and the disciple Peter—based on the narrative in Mark 14.
Scott Daniels, Dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University, delivered the sermon. Daniels focused on verses 51 and 52 from Mark chapter 14, which tell of a young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, following Jesus at the time of his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. It goes on to say, “When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.”
Although scholars have different interpretations for this figure, Daniels shared that he agrees with those who identified the naked man as a literary device. The tension in Mark’s story builds and gathers speed until it finally culminates in the garden, with a kiss of betrayal, a chaotic arrest with swords swinging at ears and people fleeing—and one lone figure, running away naked. “The naked man who runs from the garden is the embodiment of us all,” Daniels stated. “Before the cross, the sacrifice of Christ, we are laid bare.”
All of us would deny Christ, flee, and even crucify him, Daniels reminded his listeners. He recalled a time when he played a role in the screaming mob for an Easter musical at his church. As he and his friends viciously shouted, “Crucify!”, something profound happened. “I realized that this is exactly where I would be, if I placed myself in the passion narrative,” he said. “I would be in the mob, rejecting the purposes of God in my life.”
“There’s something powerful about Holy Week,” observed Daniels. “As we stand beneath the shadow of the cross, we recognize the nakedness of our own lives.”
But, he pointed out, the story does not end with the cross and the disciples fleeing from it. In Mark 16, the women who came to the tomb to anoint Jesus’s body with spices were shocked to find the stone rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they found a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side. Some scholars say that the man who ran naked from the garden symbolizes us, but that the man in Mark 16 does, too. “We are reminded of a grace greater than our sin,” said Daniels, “a grace that will not let us go until we are transformed into His likeness.”
“When we come back to the tomb,” he said, “we are those who are no longer naked, but clothed in righteousness and sitting at His right hand.”
T. Scott Daniels, PhD, is senior pastor of Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene, in addition to his role as dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University. He received his MDiv and PhD from Fuller, and currently serves on Fuller’s Board of Trustees.