Jesus' Uncomfortable Inner Circle

This morning I read Matthew 26. The first two sections of that chapter contrast two groups of people — the chief priests and elders who were out to kill Jesus, and the disciples who were following him. 

Jesus didn’t think either group was on his side. 

I was struck, this morning, by Jesus’ willingness to rebuke his inner circle. Immediately after hearing about the religio-political power brokers who wanted to kill him, we get a scene with Jesus sharing dinner with his closest followers. Seems like a time for a pep talk. Seems like a scene where Jesus might rally his troops in juxtaposition of his enemies. If this were a movie, this would be the scene where the ragtag band of rebels reviews their plan of attack and reaffirms their camaraderie. Probably strap on some guns, too. But that’s not what Jesus does. Instead, he challenges his followers just as evenly as he had challenged his enemies. 

Perhaps Jesus was not emotionally needy and not interested in a back-slapping assembly. Perhaps his agenda was such that it didn’t need a groundswell of support. Or perhaps he was leaving an example for generations to come. 

Jesus wasn’t interested in fomenting a rebellion. His agenda was more subversive than that. He wanted to catalyze repentance. He wanted to herald a kingdom so grand and fundamental that it would have no need to oppose any earthly worldviews; it would simply swallow them up.

Jesus had an inner circle, but he refused to circle the wagons.