They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?” (Mark 14:19 NIV)
This verse comes right after Jesus says, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me."
This is a chilling verse. Spoken to those who were among his closest friends. They were literally living with him on the road. Doing life together. Praying and eating and sleeping together. Ministering to the least, the last and the lost of their world...together.
"One of you will betray me." These words haunt us.
I find the reaction of the Disciples curious and convicting. I think we can learn some things from their reaction.
First, Mark writes, "They were saddened." I would think Mark would have written "Shocked" or "Angry." After all, one of these men, who'd been living together with Jesus for THREE YEARS was going to betray him.
After all they'd witnessed this seems incomprehensible. And if you know you aren't going to betray him, then anger or shock seems to be a more reasonable, if not expected, response. In fact, I wonder why none of them were motivated to try and prevent it.
Instead of being moved to act, they all seem paralyzed...by sadness. Which leads to my second thought...
...I wonder if they were saddened because they realized they themselves were capable of such betrayal. Perhaps each of them had considered betraying Jesus already. Not that they would have followed through but if they'd even considered it at some point, sadness would seem a more appropriate reaction.
It's hard enough to imagine Judas Iscariot wanting to betray Jesus. After all, he saw the miracles, the crowds, and heard the teachings.
But then to imagine that even one of the other Disciples would betray Jesus seems sacrilegious. But is it really so hard to imagine? After all, didn't Peter betray him later this very night?
Haven't I been tempted to betray Jesus before? In fact, haven't I betrayed Jesus before? Yes. Yes, I have.
Have you ever been tempted to? Maybe someone says to you, "You're one of those Jesus people, aren't you?" You imagine hate or pity or scorn behind their words. Aren't you, at that moment, tempted to bail? "No, no I'm not one of those," you say. "I believe in God, well, yeah, but, well, Jesus has some good things to say, right?"
I'd like to think I wouldn't betray Jesus for anything. And I believe I wouldn't, honestly. But I also believe I am still capable of betraying him because I have.
The disciples were saddened because, I think, they were wondering if they would be the one to betray Jesus. It saddens me to think I am still capable of this.
But it also encourages me.
This reminds me that Jesus loves me as I am and will help me do what my heart wants to do but my flesh resists--live faithfully for Jesus. (Even when tempted to betray him by hell itself)
Pride says I'm not capable of this kind of betrayal. But, if I'm honest (which humility requires), I will recognize that I'm vulnerable. Hopefully this will lead me to humbly take pre-emptive measures.
- Like suiting up with the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-18)
- Like praying continually. (1 Thess 5:1)
- Like learning scripture that you can use to repel the enemy. (Matt 4, Luke 4)
Remember, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)
Let's humble ourselves before The Lord right now and allow him to strengthen us so we'll faithfully "stand firm" in the face of our temptation to betray Jesus.
What is God saying to you?
What are you going to do about it?