Numerous events are recorded in scripture that took place leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. Today we will concentrate upon when Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples. While seated around the table, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper. Then He made a startling comment. The disciples responded with some disconcerting words. Let’s listen to the conversation.
Jesus informed His disciples in Luke 22:21-22, “But the hand of him who is going to betray Me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays Him!” Probably not a statement they expected from Jesus.
They did not respond very kindly. Verse 23 says, “The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.” Instead of “ask”, other translations use such words as debate, discuss, question, argue and inquire. I like the Message translation. They became suspicious of each other and began quizzing one another, wondering who was about to do this.
They became skeptical. They no longer trusted each other. Each disciple probably took his turn pointing a finger at who he thought would be the villain. Deep down, I think the disciples realized any one of them was capable of betraying Jesus. However, no one wanted to admit it. They were suspicious because they knew they were capable of this sin.
The accusations escalated. Ugh!
Their suspicions led to another argument recorded in verse 24. The Message says, “Within minutes they were bickering over who of them would end up being the greatest.” Their bickering led to bragging. Each man was now pointing a finger at himself bragging that he was the greatest. Other translations use various phrases for “bickering”: a dispute arose among them – argue among themselves – strife among them – contention among them. However it is stated, the disciples became egotistical.
First cynicism. Then pride.
Jesus intervened by proclaiming in verse 26, “But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” Jesus had the last and best word.
If we had been seated around the table with Jesus, I wonder what each of us would have said.
We most likely would have breathed a sigh of relief that we were not Judas who betrayed Jesus. However, let’s take a closer look at our attitudes and actions. Do you ever betray Jesus by what you say or do? Maybe it is by what you avoid saying or neglect doing. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 16:24, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”
It gets more personal when we think about the disciples pointing accusing fingers. Are you ever suspicious? It is easier to perceive the faults and sins of others than to acknowledge our own shortcomings. I think about the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:3-5. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
Do you ever find yourself bragging? It happens to all of us. Here are a few verses to remember. I Peter 5:5 says, “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Philippians 2:3 reminds us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Finally, Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”
According to Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Are you ever suspicious of others? Do you occasionally think more highly of yourself than you should? Maybe we should not be too hard upon the disciples. As we continue through the Lenten season, let’s remember the words of Galatians 6:5 NLT, “We are each responsible for our own conduct.” Strive to fulfill Psalm 19:14. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.