Questions From Readers
No, it seems that the person known to the high priest was the apostle John, whereas it was the disciple Mark who fled “naked.”
Taking these accounts in time sequence, we start at the garden of Gethsemane. The apostles reacted in fear when Jesus Christ was arrested. “They all abandoned him and fled.” The very next verse in Mark’s account draws a contrast: “But a certain young man wearing a fine linen garment over his naked body began to follow him nearby; and they tried to seize him, but he left his linen garment behind and got away naked.”—Mark 14:50-52.
Thus, the initial response of the 11 apostles is contrasted with that of this unnamed disciple, so it is logical to conclude that he was not one of the apostles. This incident is recorded only in the Gospel written by the early disciple John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. Hence, there is reason to hold that Mark was the “certain young man” who began to follow the arrested Jesus but who fled without his covering garment when the mob tried to apprehend him too.—Acts 4:36; 12:12, 25; Colossians 4:10.
At some point that night, the apostle Peter also followed Jesus, at a safe distance. In this sense there is a similarity; the young disciple (Mark) began to follow Jesus but stopped, whereas later two of the apostles who had fled took up following their arrested Master. In the apostle John’s Gospel, we read: “Now Simon Peter as well as another disciple was following Jesus. That disciple was known to the high priest, and he went in with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.”—John 18:15.
The apostle John uses the name “John” in reference to John the Baptizer but never refers to himself by name. For instance, he writes of “the disciple that bears witness about these things and that wrote these things.” Similarly: “He that has seen it has borne witness, and his witness is true, and that man knows he tells true things.” (John 19:35; 21:24) Note also John 13:23: “There was reclining in front of Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, and Jesus loved him.” That was shortly before Jesus’ arrest. Later that day the impaled Jesus singled out one disciple, whom John mentions in similar terms: “Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing by, [Jesus] said to his mother: ‘Woman, see! Your son!’”—John 19:26, 27; compare John 21:7, 20.
This same characteristic of not naming himself is evident at John 18:15. Furthermore, John and Peter are linked in the postresurrection account at John 20:2-8. These indications suggest that the apostle John was “that disciple [who] was known to the high priest.” The Bible does not provide background information as to how the Galilean apostle (John) might have got to know, and got to be known by, the high priest. But his being known by the household of the high priest enabled John to get past the doorkeeper into the courtyard and to gain entrance for Peter also.