After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ (John 13:21-25)
Simon Peter is SO like us! Jesus solemnly declares that one of his trusted followers will betray him, and rather than grieving with Jesus, Peter (the ORIGINAL “Rock”) sends a question to Jesus through “the one whom Jesus loved.”
“Who are you talking about, Jesus?”
It is always dangerous to psychoanalyze someone at a distance, but I can imagine one of two feelings motivating Peter to ask. It is very possible that Peter is feeling guilty that Jesus might be referring to him. Since it has been suggested to me, that if someone in India stubs their toe, I feel somehow responsible, I can well relate to a feeling of guilt driving Peter to ask his question!
On the other hand, Peter might be caught up in a feeling of pride, instantly convinced that it HAS to be one of the other disciples! This is exactly his response when Jesus correctly predicts that before the night is out, Peter will deny him three times.
While both feelings are understandable, notice how Peter so quickly makes the situation all about himself. Jesus has just revealed how his heart is breaking over the upcoming betrayal by one of his closest friends, and all Peter can do is respond, “What does this all have to do about me?”
I wonder if this Lenten season might be a good time to repent of our own attempts to see the world revolving around ourselves and “give this up,” in the spirit of Lent, and ask instead, “Lord, fill the space that was occupied by our self-centeredness with His Spirit of compassion and empathy. At least for myself, I will have to think long and hard to come up with a miracle of God that would be any greater! How about you?
Lord Jesus, I surrender to you my all, so I may be fully present to your suffering that I see in others.
Bill Gandin — Forgiven sinner