Baptists/Lord's Supper


Who participated in the Lord's Supper, aka the Last Supper, with Jesus?

Dear George,
While your question seems simple, its answer is necessarily more complicated.  However, to give my brief and succinct answer: Only the 11 saved apostles took part in the New Covenant Supper with the Lord Jesus.  Judas had left the room as the Lord's Supper had begun.  Judas did take part in the Old Testament Passover meal that meal had just come to a close when Jesus introduces the emblem and memorial for the NEW TESTAMENT: The Lordís Supper. It seems that Judas was handed the bread, but left immediately to go and complete his betrayal.

To better understand the above answer, it is only fair to acknowledge that some of the Puritan and later Baptist scholars disagreed on if Judast took of the Supper or not.  John Gill and Matthew Henry for instance, had differing views on this.  
However, to see the truth of the matter, it would be wise to see what the context is in the record of the Lordís Supper.

Roger S. Oldham writing in LIFEWAY material stated:
ďBaptists have historically identified baptism and the Lord's Supper as the two ordinances given by the Lord to symbolize the believer's union with Christ. Baptism commemorates our identification with Christ -- a visual reminder of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; the death of the old nature through the reception of God's saving grace through Jesus Christ; and the promise of our future hope when our mortal bodies will be raised incorruptibly for eternity.

The Lord's Supper reminds us of the means by which God's salvation was secured on our behalf. The unleavened bread is a symbol of the perfection of the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ in His body, soul and spirit. The fruit of the vine symbolizes the substitutionary, propitiatory and covenantal blood of an innocent sacrifice, shed for the remission of the sins of the guilty (see Romans 3:21-26; Hebrews 2:5-17; 7:27-28; 9:26-28; 1 Peter 3:18).

The Lord's Supper, also called communion, demonstrates the doctrine of substitution -- Christ died for me (1 Corinthians 11:26). Baptism demonstrates the doctrine of identification -- I died with Christ (Romans 6:3-4).

When Jesus identified the bread and the fruit of the vine as His body and His blood, He spoke typologically. The bread did not become His body; the fruit of the vine did not become His blood. Rather, they represented the fullness of His sacrifice for those He came to redeem. How do we know?

First, the Lord's Supper has its origins in the Jewish Passover, a memorial event designed as a perennial reminder to the Jews of God's deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Jesus' command to receive the Lord's Supper "in remembrance of Me" establishes it as a memorial meal after the likeness of the Passover "type."

Second, the specificity of Jesus' language points to a symbolical understanding of the Lord's Supper. It is hard to imagine the disciples thinking that Jesus, while physically sitting in their presence, literally entered the bread and the fruit of the vine. He did not say, "This bread becomes My body." Sitting before His disciples in His pre-glorified incarnate state, He said, "This is My body ... This is My blood." Though they did not fully understand what that moment meant until after the resurrection, they clearly understood the metaphorical nature of His language, much as they understood so many other metaphorical occurrences of biblical imagery (e.g., the Lord is ... my Rock, my Shield, my Fortress, my Shepherd).

Though receiving the Lord's Supper is a symbolic act, it is nevertheless deeply meaningful. When Jesus' followers participate in the celebratory meal, their prayerful, introspective reflection demonstrates their desire for and commitment to a continuing lifestyle of deepening devotion, communion, unity, trust, obedience, gratitude and service (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 21; 11:20-34).

Milburn Cockerell wrote about Closed Communion:
Why Baptists Pratice Closed Communion
1.The saved --believers --Matthew 26:20;Acts 2:41;no one else could.
2.The baptized (no New Testament record to the contrary).
A.A Scriptural subject --a born-again person --Matthew 28:19;Acts 2:41;8:36-38.
B.A Scriptural administrator --a New Testament church --Matthew 28:19 ; no man-made society originating later has any authority.
C.A Scriptural mode --immersion --Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:5; John 3:23; Acts 8:38,39; Romans 6:4;
Colossians 2:12;sprinkling and pouring are equivalent to no baptism at all!
D.A Scriptural design --to show that the person baptized has already been saved --Matthew 3:15;1 Peter 3:21.
3.Those in church capacity --Acts 2:41; 1 Corinthians 11:18,20; it is a church ordinance; man-made substitutes for a church not even counted.
4.The sound in doctrine --Acts 2:42;1 Corinthians 11:18-20; (Makes inter-denominational communion impossible!); 2 Thessalonians 3:16.
5.The fellowship of pure life and orderly walk --Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 5:11.

So the first New Testament observance of the Lordís Supper took place after the disciples had ended their observance of the Old Testament Passover.  All the apostles were there that night.  So the question to be asked is, ĎDid Judas take part of the Lordís Supper?í As Mr Cockrell expounded, the Lordís Supper was intended only for believers in their local church.
I do not believe that Judas did take it. While Judas apparently did eat of the Passover; and it seems that Judas may have begun to take the Supper, but he left to betray the Lord as soon as the supper began.  The Book of John gives all the sequence, including the foot washing that the other Gospels do not give (with the exception of the account of the Lord's supper, which is instituted after Judas is gone out, after receiving the 'sop'). Also, Judas would clearly not have heard Jesus' expounding of the truth of the Gospel between John 13:31 and John 18:1. Then Jesus prays in the garden, while his disciples slept. At this juncture, Judas guides the Lord's enemies to Jesus.
So all the indications are that Judas was initially present at the Last Supper but we are not told that Judas actually ate or partook of it even if he did take at least the bread in his hand.   After the bread was dipped into the sop, it was handed to Judas. Satan entered into Judas at that moment.  It was at that moment, the Lord Jesus told him to Ďthat thou doest, do quickly.í
Judas immediately left. Judas was clearly not present as the full meaning of the New Testament/New Covenant was expounded by Jesus.

So we may arrive at a sequence of events of that fateful evening:
1. Judas went to the Chief priests to betray Jesus for money (Matt. 26:14; Mark 14:10; Luke 23:2-6).
2. The disciples all ate at least the initial part of the Passover Supper (Mark 14:17; Luke 22:14).
3. After the intial part of the Passover Supper was ended, the devil puts it in Judas' heart to betray Jesus; Jesus washes all their feet (John 13:2-11).
4. They were told that they were not all clean, a clear reference to Judas. (John 13:11).
5. All, or a few of them, sat back down at the table to dip sops. (John 13:12, 28).
6. The disciples are then told that one of them would betray Jesus. (John 13:21).
7. They ask, including Judas, "Is it I?" and who it was. (Matt. 26:25; John 13:22-25).
8. They are told that the one that dips his 'sop' with Jesus would be His betrayer. (John 13:26; Mark 14:18-20).
9. Judas is told that he is the one and given the 'sop.' (John 13:27, 30).
10. After being given the sop, Judas IMMEDIATELY goes out from them and goes to the chief priests. (John 13:30). We are not told that Judas ate it.
11. Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper/Christian Communion with the eleven. (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20). Judas is no longer present.
12. Jesus Expounds upon the meaning of His life and the Gospel (John 13:31 to John 18:1).
13. The eleven sing a Hymn and went out to journey to the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:46).

Sincerely, David Ralston


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David Ralston


I can answer any question concerning the Bible, Christian life, doctrine and church history. I will give counsel concerning social and personal decisions based only on giving Biblical views. I will not attempt an on-going counseling session with someone who is dealing with life issues. I suggest those needing intensive counsel to seek professional Christian counselors or psychologists.


I have preached the gospel of Christ for 37 years. My wife and I have been married 40 years, raised 3 children and have 6 grandchildren. I have 21 years experience as pastor of local churches in the United States, and have served 14 years as a missionary, begun 12 churches, taught in University of Vilnius, Lithuanian Police College, and have addressed the parliement of Lithuania (1992). I am founder of an international mission board, the founder of the Bless The Children Program sponsorship ministry, and currently serve as director of Christ To The Nations Missions. My area of interest include Missions, Biblical Doctrine, Church history and Biblical counsel. Organizations: Local Baptist Church, CTTN Missions, Tennessee Temple University Alumni Association, Southwide Baptist Fellowship. Publications: Books: ONLY GOD and THE BODY OF CHRIST. Booklets and tracts: THE REAL KING JAMES, THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE IT, AMERICA, CHRIST OR CRISIS, Several Gospel Tracts and Articles in Christian and Public Newspapers. Education: Tennessee Temple University, Bachelors of Theology, International Baptist Seminary, Masters of Theology and Doctorate of Theology.

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