"Lord, Is It I?"
. . . Let each first examine himself. It is not only those who openly re-volt, and swear allegiance to the enemies of God and His Anointed, who are hastening to perdition, but there are also others, with the Bible in their hands, and the name of Jesus on their lips, who finally perish.
In order that their investigation may not prove fruitless, the disciples [of Jesus] resort to the Light--the brightest and most penetrating in the world--which never deceives nor shines with a delusive radiance. It is to Jesus they refer--to Him who tries the heart and reins,and fathoms every depth. "Lord," they ask, one after the other, deeply concerned and grieved, "Is it I" Is it I?" And, O, how affecting is this trait, how pleasing and worthy of imitation!
David drew near to this Light when he prayed, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me."
Those who try themselves by any other light, only deceive themselves like the Pharisees of old, who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.
Let us inquire into the result of the investigation, and in so doing, we arrive at the most important and pleasing part of the subject. The son of perdition is discovered. Each of them brings him bound to the Lord, and delivers him up to His judgment. "Each of them?" you ask with surprise. Yes: with one exception, all of them have found the sinner in their own persons. Hear the anxious inquiry which they address to their Master, "Lord, is it I?" and observe the downcast look and tearful eye with which they accompany it. What do they mean by this? They each intend to say, "Lord, I feel my heart so corrupt that I am capable of committing any evil, and when the wind of temptation blows in that direction, it were even possible for me to betray Thee as Thou hast said; unguarded, and left to myself, I can not depend upon myself in any respect. Alas, I feel that I am sold under sin, and with my best resolutions, I find I am only like a reed, shaken by the wind."
Such, we may suppose, were the feelings of the disciples. But while they thus judge and condemn themselves, a gracious look from their beloved Master assures them of their mistake; and this is immediately confirmed to them, still more intelligibly, by His declaration that it was that it was not one of the eleven, but that he who dipped his hand with Him in the dish, was the man that should betray Him.
Let us attend to the important lesson to be derived from this striking scene. They who really perish in the world--the children of wrath--are those who either do not acknowledge themselves to be sinners in the sight of God, or who, when conscious that they have sin within them, neither judge themselves, nor deliver themselves over to the Lord for judgment.
All those, however, who have discovered in themselves the sinner, who is capable of all evil, and in holy indignation bring him bound before the Holy One of God, and honor the sentence of condemnation pronounced upon him by the Supreme Judge as just and righteous, and imploringly entreat that he may be destroyed by the Holy Spirit, and a new man, a man of God, may be produced within them in his stead--such characters we pronounce blessed; for from the moment of this self-examination, they are marked out as individuals against whom the judicial sentence of the supreme tribunal is withdrawn, and who have no need to tremble at any accusation of Moses or Satan. "If we judge ourselves," says the Word of God, "we shall not be judged;" and in another place, "They that humble themselves shall be exalted."
Let us, then, listen to the exhortation of the Prophet Jeremiah, and "let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord." God grant that "in His light we may see light."
---From The Suffering Savior, by F. W. Krummacher,
German minister of the 1800's
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