Surely Not I

Mark 14:12-25 (NRSV)

The Passover with the Disciples

12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

17 When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18 And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” 20 He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread[a] into the bowl[b] with me. 21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

The Institution of the Lord’s Supper

22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

Surely not I.

In this passage, every disciple utters these words after Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.”  It is so easy for us as modern-day disciples of Christ to have this same exact posture.  “Surely I will not betray you.”

Many families do not even consider naming their child Judas, because of the connection to the betrayal of Christ.  We want to distance ourselves as far as possible from this action.  However, we also know in our hearts that every single day we betray our Savior, in thought, word and deed.

The beautiful reality is that Jesus does not distance himself from His disciples- in Mark Chapter 14 or today in our world.  The next action by Jesus is one that connects Him deeply to us- the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”

On this Maundy Thursday, we reflect and remember the actions & teachings of Jesus Christ.  The word “maundy” is derived from the Latin word, “commandment.”  It is referencing the commandment that Jesus gives us in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

The way Jesus loves us is when we betray Him, He pours Himself out for us. Therefore, our commandment is to pour ourselves out, even to those who betray us.

Obviously, this is a high calling and one we will fall short of each and every day.  God’s grace and mercy meets us in this place and connects us and unifies us all as the now Body of Christ.

So today, receive God’s grace.  Receive God’s command.  Receive the Lord’s Supper that connects us to God’s grace and God’s command!

~Pastor Joel