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"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?' He answered and said, 'He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.' Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, 'Rabbi, is it I?' He said to him, 'You have said it'" (Matthew 26:20-23, 25).
The Hypocrisy Of Judas. One among the apostles knew the betrayer. "The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him" (John 13:2). He had already arranged with the chief priests to deliver Him to them (Matthew 26:14-15). Yet with feigned respect he addressed Jesus as Rabbi and asked with the others, "Is it I?"
Jesus identified him by giving him a piece of bread. Realizing that his purpose was known, Judas had a choice to make. Jesus was saying to him, as God had said to Cain, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it" (Genesis 4:7). He could respond by repenting and confessing his sin as David did when Nathan unmasked him with that penetrating indictment: "Thou art the man." Or he could reaffirm his murderous purpose.
"Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him" (John 13:27). He surrendered completely to Satan and "having received the piece of bread, he went out immediately. And it was night" (John 13:30).
The Sincerity Of The Eleven. It is remarkable that although there was rivalry among the apostles (Luke 22:24), there is no evidence that the startling announcement of Jesus caused the apostles to look with suspicion on anyone else in their number. Their love and confidence in each other was such that each one could imagine himself the culprit as readily as he could any of his companions. This is the spirit that each of us should have when we hear some sin condemned or some influence identified that threatens our salvation, or families or the church. Rather then looking with accusing eyes at others, we need to ask, "Lord, is it I?" "But let a man examine himself... for if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged" (1 Corinthians 11:28, 31).
It is hard for any of us to believe that we could actually betray Jesus. "Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). Even though Peter would soon insist that he would never be offended in Jesus, he evidently was humble enough at this point to join with all the others in asking, "Lord, is it I?" (Matthew 26:22). What a pity this humility so soon gave way to pride, which in turn led to a fall.
The Character Of Jesus. A notable quality of Jesus must account for the fact that the disciples did not suspect Judas. Jesus knew very early that Judas would betray Him (John 6:70-71). Yet not one word, not one glare, not one shrug suggested this to the other disciples. Jesus even allowed Judas to keep the money box (John 13:29), giving him every encouragement to repent and no excuse whatsoever for betrayal. Love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Corinthians 13:7).
It is also noteworthy that Jesus was able to bring the disciples to the point of asking, "Lord, is it I?" Jesus could have identified Judas and sent him on his way without instigating this self-examination by the others. It is a wholesome characteristic of any message when the hearers are moved to ask, "Is it I?" Too many sermons are a mere recitation of facts. When a speaker finishes his argument he should assume that the audience is saying, "So what?" It is his duty to bring them to ask how it applies to them and how they can use the information or implement the counsel he has given. Doubtless, this is the reason for the fact that more than once in concluding a parable, Jesus cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Luke 8:8).
Conclusion. Of the congregation of which we are members, the Lord surely can say, "I know your works" (Revelation 2 & 3). And I can almost hear Him say, "Some of you will betray Me". May we, not hypocritically as Judas, but humbly as the eleven, respond, "Lord, is it I?"
Oscar C. Miles
Dancer Karnesha Nantz finally convinced Daniel Karpinski to take a pill she was offering. It turned out to be an illegal drug which caused him to lose consciousness and stop breathing. Nantz gave him CPR, keeping him alive until paramedics arrived. "She did give him some sort of illegal pill, but she's definitely a hero for being able to revive him", Officer Robert Vega told the South Florida Sun- Sentinel.
If you find it repulsive for the one who caused him to stop breathing to be called a hero for helping him breathe again, imagine how repulsive the teaching is that God makes a person so he has to sin and then condemns him for it! No indeed; no one has to sin, for God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13).Download the PDF Back to the archives...
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