April is right around the corner and Easter isn't to far behind it. Each year I re-read the Resurrection story. I start in Matthew, go through Mark and Luke, and end in John. There are a lot of mixed feelings that I have with this story of Jesus. I am a pastor's kid, so I grew up knowing the story of Jesus as well as I knew my birthday. It is ingrained in me to understand what happened, when it happened and why it happened. I have seen the Passion of the Christ, understand all of the implications of the cross, and am well-versed in the understanding of what Christ did for everyone and specifically for me. Even if you didn't grow up in a house like I did, I'm sure you could say similar things. On top of that, the world has done a brilliant job marketing this 'holiday,' and is going to enjoy reaping the millions, perhaps billions of dollars it has made.
This year, before I read any of the story, I made a point to ask God to help me not see Easter the way I have before. Make it come alive again. Remind me again of the miracle of salvation. I say it a lot because it is worth saying, don't forget that salvation is greater than any miracle you have ever witnessed. And it is free. At least it is for us. Jesus paid a great price on our behalf.
I finish Matthew and head into Mark and am stopped by the Living Lord's Last Supper. Are you even a believer if you have not seen or been a part of the remaking of this event. Growing up, this was a staple at our church. In fact, my dad still puts this on every year. You go through each of the disciples. Who they are, where they are from, how they will be martyred for Christ. As they each take their place at the table, the scene then comes alive. Talking, eating. I'm sure mostly eating. As a child, I couldn't wait until the play was over so I could tear into the unleavened bread and grapes on the table!
And then Jesus, before He breaks the bread and hands out the drink, says these words. "One of you who eats with me, will betray me." In the drama I hear the bickering begin. Not I! Peter slams his fists on the table saying, I would never betray you! What I read in Mark (ironic that many assume Mark's Gospel is from Peter's perspective) is a slightly different tale.
"And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, "Is it I?" And another said, "Is it I?" Mark 14:19
It is strange to me that they all thought it even a slight possibility that they might be the one to betray Jesus. They all spent three years with this man. Witnessed countless miracles. The things Jesus said and did could not be contained in books, it was so great! Jobs were surrendered, places of prominence given up, even leaving family and friends, the disciples embarked on this journey. Peter even receives a glimpse of who Jesus is from the Holy Spirit when he declares, "surely You are the Son of God!"
And now centuries later, here we sit. You and I at a table with Jesus. Somewhere in my heart I have to consider, could I betray Christ? For there will be many who cry out "Lord, Lord. I have done many things in your name." There will be many who have a form of godliness, but deny it's power. There will be many who are morally correct. There will be many...
More than a self-accusation, I believe this was a self-assessment the disciples made on this night. And I would like to do the same, and maybe you would join me. Join me in searching our hearts to see if maybe, just maybe it could be me? If my life was asked of me, would I give it? If my possessions were asked of me, would I give them? If my world was shattered, would I still believe? If everything were stripped away, would He still be good?
Would I give it all, or is there still a place deep in my heart where I might have to ask myself, "Is it I?"