Ask the Pastor: Judas and the Last Supper of our Lord

Ask the Pastor: Judas and the Last Supper of our Lord

Question

Was Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, present at the Lord’s Last Supper
with His disciples?

Answer

The Gospels are the resources to search with reference to this question. The three
Gospels-Matthew (26:26-29), Mark (14:22-25), and Luke (22:17-20) (also called the
Synoptic Gospels) each include the explicit account of Jesus’ Last Supper with His
disciples. Only the Gospel of John does not include the account of what happened during
the Supper.

The Gospel of Matthew and Mark are similar in that Jesus speaks of his betrayer “eating”
with him. Mathew, however, also includes the revelation that the betrayer is Judas.
1

Mark does not include the who of Jesus’ betrayal.

Immediately following the mention of the betrayer, Matthew and Mark continue with the
institution of the Lord’s Supper. The sections then conclude, “When they had sung a
hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

In Matthew and Mark, one might assume that Judas had received the “Last Supper” with
Jesus and the other disciples. The texts however, don’t indicate this with certainty. They
only mention the betrayer, the Institution (and meal), the singing of the hymn, and the
going out. No mention is made as to when Judas had left the table.

Luke’s Gospel differs somewhat from the accounts of Matthew and Mark, and in a telling
way, one which answers the question quite clearly…Following the eating of the bread
and the drinking of the cup by the disciples (the distribution),
2
Jesus then says, “Behold,
the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has
been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Luke 22:21)

Judas, according to St. Luke’s Gospel, had partaken of the Lord’s Supper, for it was after
Jesus had distributed His body and blood with the bread and the wine that He had said
that the betrayer, Judas, was at the table. However, as in Matthew and Mark, Luke does
not say when Judas had departed.

1
Matt. 26:25, “Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, ‘Surely not I, Rabbi?’ Jesus answered,
Yes, it is you.’”
2
Luke 22:19-20. St. John’s Gospel is unique here from the other Gospels. St. John has no “Words of
Institution” from our Lord within its pages. But this doesn’t at all mean that John doesn’t
give clues as to Judas’ presence at the Last Supper.

John tells us that it was during3
supper that Jesus washed the disciples feet (John 13:2).
He also records that after Jesus had washed His disciples feet and concludes with the
words, “Truly, Truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he
who receives Me receives Him who sent Me” (John 13:20), only then, after these things,
does Jesus say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me” (John 13:21).

The disciples weren’t sure of whom He spoke, but one of the disciples had asked, to
whom Jesus responded, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have
dipped it” (John 13:26). Jesus then gave the morsel to Judas—“Satan entered into
him”—and “he immediately went out” (John 13:26-30).

Though John doesn’t give the exact moment that the Supper had ended, we may assume,
according to the timing of Luke’s Gospel, that the Supper had ended before Judas had
departed, for after Judas departs in John’s Gospel, Jesus’ discourse continues through
chapter 17, and then, when he had finished speaking, He and the disciples (minus Judas)
went to “a garden” (John 18:1), to the “Mount of Olives” (Luke 22:39).

Of the four Gospels, St. Luke clearly indicates that Judas the betrayer was indeed present
at the Last Supper of the Lord Jesus with the other disciples.

Note: In most depictions of The Last Supper, 13 men are present, not 12.

3
Some translations have “supper being ended” (i.e. NKJ). We translate ‘during’ because the Greek verb is
in the present tense, not past.

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