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Surely Not I, Lord? - Scott Richardson

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Scott Richardson



Owen Griggs

Tim Hamilton

Jackson Drive


September 16, 2012


Surely Not I, Lord?

Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.” (Matthew 26:20-25)

As they were reclined at the table, Jesus announced: “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” The disciples were startled and bewildered. As strange as it may now seem, no one was under suspicion: “The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking” (John 13:22). Each one thought first of himself. “Surely not I?” No one said of another, “Is it him?” In their noble loving nature they seemed to have no suspicion of Judas.

Let’s put ourselves in the same company, listen to the same startling announcement, and subject ourselves to a most rigid test (2Corinthians 13:5) — surely, not I?

“One of you shall betray me” for gain.

This is exactly what Judas did. For the legal price of a slave he sold his Master: “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him” (Matthew 26:14-16). In the transaction, he sold his own soul.

For the love of money, some would do anything (Ezekiel 13:19; Amos 2:6). “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1Timothy 6:10). Jesus is betrayed when his truth is betrayed (John 14:6). Every man who sells the Lord, sells first his own soul.

“One of you shall betray me”
after eating my bread.

This is exactly what Judas, the ingrate, did. “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9; John 13:18). Imagine Jesus’ feelings in knowing that his own familiar friend would turn against Him (Psalm 55:12,13).

Apparently, this is a them with mankind: Caesar of Brutus, “et tu brutae.” Many who eat the Lord’s bread renounce him. “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6).

“One of you shall betray me” with a kiss.

This is exactly what Judas did: “Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him” (Matthew 26:47). This was a kiss of the basest hypocrisy.

Many betray him in heart and in life, but keep up the pretense. Paul warned Timothy: “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (2Timothy 3:5). There have always been those who profess to love God, but have other behavior: “To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1). But the Lord cannot be deceived — Judas did not deceive him. He saw through the thin robe of pretense (1Samuel 16:7; Hebrews 4:13). There is a divine detective system with which all professors and pretenders must reckon (Acts 5:1-11).

“One of you shall betray me” to his sorrow.

This is exactly what Judas did. He was warned (verse 24). Before the sin he thought of the gain; afterwards, he despised the gain and thought only of the guilt. He sought relief for his burdened heart by returning the money. “Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to that yourself!’” (Matthew 27:3-4). He failed in this, so he sought refuge in death: “And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3-5; Acts 1:18).

All who betray him, do so to their sorrow. The Master’s warning, in verse 24, is good for us. Before we sin, we think of the gain of it and the pleasure of it; after we sin we think of the guilt of it and the shame of it. First sin, then sorrow.

“One of you shall betray me” for gain.

“Surely not I, Lord?”

“One of you shall betray me” after eating my bread.

“Surely not I, Lord?”

“One of you shall betray me” with a kiss.

“Surely not I, Lord?”

“One of you shall betray me” to his sorrow.

“Surely not I, Lord?”

S. Scott Richardson Sr.

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