And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say to him, Lord, is it I?
Phillips Brooks sees in the questioning of our Lord by his disciples a state of mind and feeling of which he can approve. "Each man's anxiety seems to be turned, not towards his brother, but towards himself, and you hear them asking, one after another, 'Lord, is it I?' Peter, Bartholomew, John, James, Thomas, each speaks for himself, and the quick questions come pouring in out of their simple hearts, 'Lord, is it I?' Certainly there is something that is strange in this. These men were genuine. There could not be any affectation in their question. A real, live fear came over them at Jesus' prophecy. And it was a good sign, no doubt, that the first thought of each of them was about the possibility of his own sins." This, however, is what lies on the surface; closer study of character reveals something that is not so commendable. The turning of these disciples to question their Lord concerning themselves illustrates the constant disposition of men to shift their responsibilities, and especially the responsibility of searching into and duly appraising themselves. No doubt, self-examination is difficult work, unpleasant, humbling work; but if a man is to be a man, he will have to do it. Over the Greek temple they wrote, "Know thyself." It is man's hardest, it is man's noblest, work.
I. REFERENCE TO CHRIST OF WHAT WE CANNOT DECIDE OURSELVES IS GOOD. It would have been all right if these disciples had done a little self-examination first, and then, bewildered and uncertain, had sought their Lord's help. Instead of that, impulsively, inconsiderately, exciting one another, hardly knowing what they said, they all said the same thing at once.
II. CHRIST WILL BE SURE TO THROW SUCH QUESTIONERS AS THESE BACK ON THEMSELVES. There was no answer for each one. There was a general answer for all. "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish." But they all did that. That told nothing save to a very keen observer, who might notice that Judas's hand went into the dish at the same moment as the hand of Jesus. Jesus, in effect, bade them ask themselves the question which they were so impulsively asking him.
III. DISCIPLES MIGHT HAVE ANSWERED THEIR QUESTIONS THEMSELVES. Suppose they had begun to examine their own motives, what would the eleven have found? and what would Judas have found? The eleven might have gained satisfaction; for treachery was no natural fruitage of the relations in which they were standing with their Master. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?