And when it was evening he came with the twelve. And as they were at table eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?” (Mark 14: 17-19)
As I think about that final meal, I find myself pondering the moment when the notion of betrayal is introduced. I suppose the disciples suspected that violence and death were near, but they probably thought it would come from outside the group. When they learn that those terrible events will be set in motion by evil within, they are hurt and sad and they begin to question. And in that awful moment, they say to him, one after another, “Is it I?”
Their question makes me draw a breath. There’s so much humanity revealed: the pain and self-accusation; the bewilderment. It’s that place in life where things turn upside down, and we try to figure out what went wrong. Is this all my fault?
It’s astonishing they don’t turn on each other. (“I knew it! You were never really one of us!”) It wouldn’t be the first time they’d argued. Yet, one by one they look to Jesus to reveal the truth that in that moment they cannot know about themselves.
Lord, look within me and tell me what I am capable of. Tell me before it’s too late. Tell me, is it I?