Summary: “Surely Not I, Lord?” I. It’s a question that comes from troubled hearts II. It gets an answer that calms troubled hearts
April 8, 2004 — Maundy Thursday
Christ Lutheran Church, Columbia, MD
Pastor Jeff Samelson
“Surely Not I, Lord?”
I. It’s a question that comes from troubled hearts
II. It gets an answer that calms troubled hearts
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. Amen.
The Word of God for our study this evening is found in Matthew 26:21-28, which is printed in your bulletin and will be read as we go along through the sermon:
[While they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?"
Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?"
Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (NIV)
This is the Gospel of our Lord. ]
Dear Christian Friends:
I wonder if you’ve ever had an experience like this — it happened to me more than once when I was still in school. You get to class, get settled in, and the teacher or professor says that your tests have been graded, and that he is very disappointed, or frustrated, or just plain puzzled by some people’s poor performance. Before handing anything back, he begins to go through the test, pointing out one individual’s lousy answers, showing that that student — as the worst representative of all the others — just didn’t “get” whatever it was they’d been studying for the last weeks or months.
Now it always seems to happen that some time has passed between the taking of the test and its grading — maybe a long weekend, spring break, or just a busy time for the teacher. And so as he is going through the test and sharing that one student’s embarrassingly wrong answers, every student in the class is asking him- or herself, “Wait, that’s not my test he’s reading from, is it? That can’t be me, can it?”
But for at least one person in the class, once the papers are handed back, the answer will be, “Yes, it is you”.
Something similar, but much more serious, was going on in that upper room on Maundy Thursday, the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus announced something much more than disappointing, something beyond puzzling. “One of you will betray me,” he said.
There was more than a grade on the line. Jesus was announcing the results of the testing of their hearts before the test had even been given. He was saying, “One of you will fail. One of you will show that nothing you have learned these last three years has made a difference. One of you will trade your trust for treachery.”