They were grieved at this, and began to say to him, one after another, “Can it be I?”
and we each recognize
how close we are
to not being close at all
it takes nothing at all
to stop looking
in the same direction
shiny objects do distract
our own brightest of all
insists on being seen
so sad we’ve not practiced
seeing the brightness of others
enhancing our own
Literally, “They began to be sorrowful”, is an accurate description of that state of being Mann567 describes, “as though the awful notion were beginning to seize hold of them.”
What a change in tone from the expectation that we have prepared ourselves to relive an ancient Passover. Something has gone awry! Our expectations no longer hold! All is at sixes and sevens!
Bratcher437 describes a Greek phrase that reflects the dawning horror of what the Twelve were likely to do when finally faced with the anticipation of their betrayal:
μήτιἐγώ (mēti egō, Is it I?) : the interrogative mēti expects a negative answer…and the question is not a request for information, but a protest of loyalty, “surely it is not I?” a question requesting confirmation—“No, it is not!”
O how we want to be assured that the worst in us will not come to the fore. This is even more basic than the ease and rapidity with which we blame another. This is not a moment to look around and figure out who Jesus is talking about. It is clear in a flash that the bell is tolling for each one. It is not clear that each of the Twelve can turn to face Judas as “the” betrayer. He was as trustworthy as any, including Peter, James, and John. In fact it would be the leaders (at least those most often named) of the Twelve who might be thought to face the largest temptation to shape things in their image—note the news these days about leadership in “evangelical” mega-churches and that same dynamic in previous generations of traditional Roman, Orthodox, and Protestant leadership.
You might imagine the Twelve in a boat on a dark and stormy night, asking Jesus, “Don’t you care about me drowning?” This has turned out to be a very turbulent meal.