And while they were eating he said, ‘In truth I tell you, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not me, Lord, surely?’ – Matthew 26:21-22
It wasn’t that long ago that, if Jesus had turned to me and told me that I was going to betray him, that I would have said the very same thing, “Not me, Lord, surely?” I would have thought, “Have I not chosen to follow you and be your disciple? Have I not left everything – given up my worldly ambitions and hopes – to serve you?”
It’s a funny thing when you begin to follow Jesus. After a while, you realise that the ‘everything’ you had left to follow him was really ‘nothing’. Yes, that had felt like everything at the time, but when you continue to spend time with the One who had emptied Himself of ALL, you eventually start noticing how much you are still holding on to. Above all, you begin to realise how tightly you are clutching on to your WILL.
How many of us are willing to go to great lengths and pains to follow Christ, just as long as we get a say in how that happens? We ask for the grace to align our wills to his, but how many of us pray to be able to surrender our wills completely? When God gives us the grace to see our souls starkly for what it is, we would be startled and embarrassed at how far we thought we had come.
There is where I find myself at the end of Lent this year. Perhaps because I am more secure now in God’s love, I had been given a deeper look into my soul. There are no words that can do justice to the experience. Truth cuts like a scalpel.
So I will not be that surprised if I betray the Lord, as much as I do love him, and as much as it will grieve me deeply. God has done a great service for me in stripping me of my own confidence in my goodness and understanding.
Now, when I am at supper with the Lord, I would no longer answer with “Not me, Lord, surely?” I would come to him to be embraced as I weep into his breast, “Lord, have mercy on me.”