Did Judas receive communion? – a Challenge answered
My post on Judas Was Judas Predestined to be Lost? has been challenged. This post is an answer to that challenge.
I received a link to an article found here. The article was sent to me by a Calvinist who said it shows reasons why we can believe that Judas left before the Lord’s supper was served. The article says:
Mathew (Matt. 26:19-30), Mark (Mk. 14:10-26), and John (Jn. 13:1-30) indicate that Judas “may not” have partaken of the Lord’s Table.
The author states that Judas “could have” left between verses 25 and 26 in Matthew 26 and even though the text doesn’t say so, just because something is omitted does not mean it did not happen. It is true that just because something is omitted does not mean it didn’t happen. However, Matthew’s silence cannot contradict Luke’s specific words showing Judas was still there after communion was given. In fact, Luke is the ONLY gospel that directly tells us that Judas was still there until after communion.
Luke 22:19–22 (NASB) 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. 21 “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 22 “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
Luke states that the bread and the wine were given while Judas was still there because Jesus identifies the hand of Judas with Him on the table. The author of the article suggests that we should take Luke’s account as topical and not in chronological order, however, I would like to prove that this cannot be true.
First of all Luke’s gospel was written from a chronological viewpoint as we find in Luke 1:3
Luke 1:3 (NASB) it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
Luke wrote primarily in consecutive order with very few exceptions where he summarized. One such instance is John the Baptist where Luke summarized John’s end of life to give the focus over to the account of Jesus the Messiah. Luke is the account that we can trust was written with extra care to the order. No other gospel tells us exactly where Judas was during communion. Luke has the most precise detail put squarely into the mouth of Jesus who identifies the betrayer in their midst AFTER communion.
Secondly, the construction of the grammar of Luke 22:20, 21 does not allow us to switch the order of the events.
Luke 22:20–21 (NASB)
20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
21 “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table.
Luke shows that the cup followed the giving of the bread, as he says “in the same way He took the cup.” Then verse 21 starts with “But”. “But” is a logical contrastive, coordinating/adversative conjunction. The two sentences are tied together so you cannot have the “cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood” separated from “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table.” See the screen print below.
Not only does the grammar not allow us to separate the two sentences that clearly show that Judas was with Jesus when Jesus commanded them to eat and drink the new Covenant bread and wine, but the contrastive must follow what it is contrasting. Jesus said, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” Jesus is getting ready to pour out His blood for the forgiveness of sins, yet the very one who has partaken of the communion with Jesus is the same one who is betraying Jesus. One lays down His life because of His great love, and the other turns away his face from the Life-giver for thirty pieces of silver, and his own love of money. It is not possible to have the verse “But behold the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table” to come before “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” The saying is attached to what precedes it. (Screen print below)
While the gospel Matthew is known for jumping round and round outside of consecutive order, Luke consistently gives his account in consecutive order, and the grammar reinforces this order.
The article from the Calvinist author gives another claim, saying:
In John we seem to find some clarification that Judas did leave before the Supper
How is this so? John does not mention the communion, and John’s gospel is the only gospel that doesn’t give out any of the elements of the Lord’s meal, so how could John have said that Judas “did leave before the Supper?” The author quotes John 13:26, 27 and I will quote from the NASB.
John 13:26–27 (NASB) 26 Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
Verse 26 does not say that the dipping of the bread in the bowl happened immediately after Jesus gave the sign. Mark does not mention that Jesus dipped the bread with Judas, and neither does Matthew. Matthew is consistently out of order with his account as we can readily see looking at the gospels in chronological order. Matthew jumps from chapter 4 to chapter 12 and back to chapter 7, then half of chapter 8 and to chapter 11 and back to the last half of chapter 8.
The facts are that Luke’s gospel does not contradict the other gospels. They all come together to produce one united witness. Matthew, Mark, and John do not identify Judas as leaving before communion, and Luke clearly and irrefutably shows that Judas did not leave until after Jesus gave out the bread and the wine. For more information, please see my article on Judas and whether he was predestined to be lost – here.
The implications are clear. Jesus initiated the first communion and He not only included Judas, but He commanded all of them to eat and drink of it. What will you do with this information? Can you accept the text for what it says or will your allow your traditions to contradict Jesus?