"LORD, IS IT I?"
Matthew records an account of Jesus last Passover with His apostles: "Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover? And He said, Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, "The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples." So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover. Now when evening had come, He sat down with the twelve. Now as they were eating, He said, Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me. And they were exceedingly sorrowful and each of them began to say to Him, Lord, is it I? Then He answered and said, He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born. Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, Rabbi, is it I? He said to him, You have said it." (Matthew 26:17-25).
Preparation for the feast took place on Thursday afternoon. The feast itself was eaten that night, but since the Jewish day began at sunset, the meal was eaten on what to them was the first part of Friday. To us, it would be Thursday night.
It is interesting to note that, although Jesus had known from the beginning of His ministry which of the apostles would be the betrayer, the other apostles did not suspect Judas at all. As far back as John 6:54, John tells us that "Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him." In verses 70-71 of that sixth chapter, John writes that Jesus asked His apostles, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve."
We might do well to remind ourselves that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote their accounts of the life of Jesus several years after the events they recorded had occurred. By the time they put their messages into written form, they were well aware that Judas was the betrayer, and they made mention of his treachery every time they mentioned his name. But as Matthew indicates in our text, at the time these events were unfolding, they did not so much as suspect Judas of being a traitor. When they were informed that one of them would betray Him, they did not ask, "Lord, is it Judas?" but "Lord, is it I?" We, too, should realize, even as they did, that there lurks within each of us the danger of doing evil as well as the power to do right. God grant us the will and the strength to do the right, and refrain from the evil.
By Clarence Johnson via the Susquehanna Sentinel Dec 23,2001
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