Did Judas Eat?
25 Then Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?” He said to him, “You have said it.” 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
There is much debate among scholars as to the question of whether Judas partook of the Lord’s Supper by eating the bread and wine. John is the only gospel that actually says when Judas left, which took place at the end of supper and after the foot washing. Here in Matthew, Jesus proclaims Judas as the betrayer before starting the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper. Some say that it’s in between verses 25 and 26 that Judas would have left and therefore didn’t partake. Others argue the idea that if Jesus washed his feet, he would have also performed the rest of the ceremony with Judas as well.
Although it’s nice to know the facts, I think arguing over this is missing the mark for two reasons. If this was something really vital for us as Christians to know, it would have been much more clear in the text as the writers and Holy Spirit would make sure there was no doubt. Although some things can be hard to understand in the Bible, it also always explains itself for those things which God knows we need to know.
Secondly, and more importantly in my mind, it makes very little difference if Judas partook of the bread and wine or not. The fact is his heart and mind were already set on their path. Jesus himself says in John 13:27 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
What this teaches us is that ceremonies, like the Lord’s Supper, while important to our spiritual lives and growth, are of little use if our hearts and minds are not in the right place. Regardless of the bread and wine, we know for certain that Judas partook of the foot washing. The washing did nothing to change his mind, however, and neither would the Lord’s Supper.
Do not allow ceremonies or traditions to take the place of your responsibility of character and choice. Just because you go through all the motions at church means nothing if your character is not focused on God. These ceremonies and traditions are not magical incantations or spells that automatically or magically change our state of mind or character. Our mind and character is only changed through our relationship with God, our giving of ourselves to him, and in the deliberate choices we make within our lives. There is no magic red pill that will change your life outside of your choice and relationship with God.
Pr. Steven Couto