Surely Not I
Each of the disciples, on the night of the Passover, was certain that they would not betray Jesus (Matt. 26:22). Yet one of them would. And each of them was certain that they would not abandon Jesus in his moment of need. Yet all of them would. As Jesus was arrested, we read, “then all the disciples left Him and fled.”
“Surely not I,” is the constant inner refrain, the voice of self-confidence that foolishly trusts in our own deluded perceptions of religious devotion. It is our inner voice that always overreaches, always over estimates, always esteems higher than it should.
It is also interesting to note, that after the cross, according to church tradition, every one of the disciples except John, died the death of a martyr. Their fragile faith somehow was transformed into something very solid. Every one of them went from trusting in the doomed apparatus of self-determination to standing firmly on the power of the cross.
And every one of us fight the battle of “surely not I.” We all, at some point, conceive of our faith as a matter of our own will power, as something that, if we just try harder will lead to our success. We believe confidently that we will never deny Jesus by our words or actions. Yet, at some point, we all do. And eventually, we all discover the gross insufficiency of such an approach. And, hopefully, we discover that what we all need, what transforms our faith into something enduring and real is a revelation of the power of the cross. There, at the cross, we are moved from “surely not I” to “here I am Lord, send me.” Because there we are confronted with the radical and limitless love that simultaneously declares the severity of our sins, and the dedication of Jesus to our cause. And only with that realization can we become truly dedicated to His cause.