When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
“It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with 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.”
“Surely you don’t mean me?”
We overestimate our saintliness and underestimate our sinfulness.
We overestimate our virtue and underestimate our vice.
We overestimate our strengths and underestimate our weaknesses.
We overestimate our “have-it-togetherness” and underestimate our brokenness.
So what’s behind all this overestimation and underestimation? Pride, of course; a self-inflated vision of ourselves.
Pride clouds our vision of ourselves. No, it’s worse than that. Pride blinds us to our own depravity.
So, what’s the answer? How can we deal with that which we are unaware? We can cast ourselves on the mercy of our God. It brings to mind the ancient prayer known to the ages as “The Jesus Prayer.” We’ve rehearsed it many times on the Daily Text.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
This prayer contains the antidote to pride. It’s not a prayer of shallow self-deprecation. It is a simple agreement with the truth about God and the truth about us. It’s the kind of gut-level honesty that leads us to the place where instead of saying, “Surely you don’t mean me,” we humbly whisper, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
This ancient moment before the Passover meal is a call to deep self-examination and repentance. As hard as it is to face, we must remain open to the possibility that it could always be “I.” In fact, that’s the only way to be sure it will not be.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
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