The Lord's Supper and the Traitor

The question has often been asked as to whether Judas was at the table on the institution of the Supper — this is open to discussion and we do not pronounce upon it here — but what is of greater importance to us is the fact that the traitor is still here. It is notable that both in Luke 22 and 1 Corinthians 11, in which passages alone the perpetuation of the supper is enjoined, the traitor is mentioned. "But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table" (Luke 22:21), and "The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread" (1 Cor. 11:23). This linking up of the Supper with the betrayal is of the utmost importance. It brings into striking contrast the untrustworthiness and absolute evil of the flesh and the changeless, unconquerable love of the Lord, which was tested and proved by His death, of which the Supper is a constant reminder. So long as the Lord's Supper is eaten for a remembrance of Him by His saints upon earth, so long will the traitor be here, for it is the presence of the traitor — the evil flesh which is still within every one of us — that in one sense makes the perpetuation of the Supper a necessity.

It was the man of the flesh-nature that spat in the face of the Lord; it was the man of the same genus, though one who walked in ostensible communion with the Lord, who sold Him for the price of a slave, even before Satan entered him in order to energize him for the last terrible traitor-kiss. Let us not suppose that the flesh in Judas was worse than the flesh in others. That which is born of the flesh is flesh — and in him we do but see it fully developed in evil, and become the ready tool of the devil. We once had our part with that man of treachery and shame; we belonged to the same order, for we were "in the flesh," and were "the servants of sin," but by the death of Jesus we have been set free, so that we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, we are in Christ, for if any man be in Christ there is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). But the flesh remains in us, the traitor is still there capable of producing the same works as were seen in Judas if allowed to work without restraint; and we, seeing its evil character, must refuse to yield to it. We are to place no confidence in the flesh, but to rejoice in Christ Jesus whose love led Him into death for us, and will never decay. The Supper brings freshly and constantly to our minds that love of Christ, so strong and true and worthy of trust.