Question: Did Judas partake of the Lord’s supper? The account in the 22nd Chapter of Luke sounds as if he did. (Luke 22:21)
Answer: It has not been my understanding that he did and I shall endeavor to set forth my reasons for believing he did not.
First, let us keep in mind as we consider this question that there were two suppers considered in the scriptures right together at the same sitting the Passover Supper and the Lord’s Supper. And though they were together at the same sitting, yet they were distinct and separate and signified different things and we must consider them in that way to get the proper understanding. This Passover Supper that Jesus ate with His disciples at this time was the last official Passover to be observed. It passed out of existence that night and has therefore come to be called “The Last Supper.” It had been observed by the Israelites ever since the night they came forth out of Egypt until that night when Christ ate it with His disciples for the last time. It was coming to its end right then. That Paschal Lamb which was eaten in the Jew’s Passover Supper was a type of Jesus Christ Himself. Paul makes this clear in I Corinthians 5:7 where he says “…For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” Therefore this typical Paschal Lamb was to be fulfilled the very next day at Calvary when Christ, the Lamb of God, offered Himself without spot to God as a sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, the type being fulfilled had no further practical use, so passed away forever at the death of Christ; and He became the Paschal Lamb for the house of God, the Church of God, for this gospel age of time.
At the close or finish of this Passover Supper, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper which was a brand-new ordinance which was to be observed by the saints, the disciples of Christ throughout this gospel age of time. I refer to the Lord’s Supper as the “Memorial Service of the Church.” Jesus said concerning it in Luke 22:19, “…This do in remembrance of me.” Paul wrote in I Corinthians 11:23-26 “…the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” So it is altogether clear that this ordinance belongs to the Church for this age of time and is to be observed by the Church until Jesus comes back again.
So we have here the last Passover Supper which was ever to be officially observed at the closing out of the Old Testament Dispensation, and the first Lord’s Supper to be officially observed at the ushering in of this New Testament Dispensation. These were observed both at the same sitting but were separate and distinct and this has considerable importance in ferreting out the answer to this question clearly.
The first three gospels bring out about both of these suppers Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-20. Now there are some important points in these passages which may help to guide us to our conclusion.
First, let us consider a passage in John’s gospel which is of much importance. Strange as it may seem, and it does seem strange to me indeed that John made no reference to the Lord’s Supper anywhere in his gospel. Neither does he mention directly the last Passover Supper. However, from the things he wrote in the 13th Chapter of his gospel and comparing them with what Matthew, Mark and Luke wrote in direct reference to the Passover; the setting of this 13th Chapter of John was in the Passover Supper. Jesus announces in verse 21 that one of them would betray Him. He makes this same announcement in Matthew 26:21, and that was clearly in connection with their eating the Passover. Also in Mark 14:18, while they were eating the Passover.
When Jesus had made this announcement, they began to ask Him who it was, and He told them it was the one to whom He would give the sop when He dipped it and He handed it to Judas. John 13:27 says “And after the sop Satan entered into Him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.” Then verse 30 says “He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.” Oh, the awful night that fills a person’s soul when he turns away from the “Sun of Righteousness,” the “Light of the World” and walks out into darkness! But the important thing in this verse as it pertains to our question is “Having received the sop went immediately out.” This seems to make it clear to me that Judas left while they were still eating the Passover Supper so would not have been in there when the Lord’s Supper was instituted because that was at the end of the Passover Supper.
Matthew records in Matthew 26:26-28, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” The same statements are recorded in Mark 14:22-24. But Luke is more specific in identifying when and in what order this happened. In Luke 22:20, he said that Jesus took the cup AFTER SUPPER and declared it to be the new testament in His blood, etc. This pinpoints the time when the bread (emblem of His body) and the cup (emblem of His blood) these ingredients of the Lord’s Supper were introduced; it was after the Passover Supper was finished. Matthew said in Matthew 26:26, “And as they were eating,…” and Mark said in Mark 14:22, “…As they did eat,…” Now I recognize that these accounts do not pinpoint any specific time. It could have been any time during the Passover Supper that Jesus did this. But, since Luke specifies that it was AFTER SUPPER we could conclude it to be right at the winding up of the Passover Supper that this was done. In this case, Judas could not have been present because he left sometime during the Passover Supper, according to John’s account. (John 13:21-30.)
Now the problem of the questioner concerning the account of Luke 22:19-23, could be that verses 21-33, regarding the hand of the one who betrayed Him being with Him on the table, follows verses 19-20 where the bread and cup were introduced. This would surely seem to indicate Judas was still there. But, since Matthew, Mark, and John all relate this incident in connection with the Passover Supper, I am inclined to think that Luke did not adhere strictly to chronological continuity at this particular point and that verses 21-23 should have been inserted up above there in the discussion of the Passover Supper.