There’s some debate on whether Judas took and ate the bread and wine Jesus offered. Whether he partook of the sacraments, I don’t know, and I don’t know if we can know. But here’s what every translation of John 13:30 says in some form: he left with the bread.
It seems like every week another friend or acquaintance is saying they’ve found Christianity wanting. It’s not always Christ they find wanting, but his followers. Russell Moore wrote a strong and stirring piece this past week on why this might be, and I recommend you read it.
But this morning as I read John 13, I took a lot of comfort in this line, that Judas, whether he ate the bread or not, still brought it with him.
We have the opportunity to respond in a few ways when friends struggle or leave Christianity. We can write scathing prayers couched in sneering judgment, we can pity them and let them know how wrong they’ve got it. Or we can look to Jesus who offered bread and wine to the one who would reject him, who let him eat or take it with him, who didn’t call him out by name in public, but who let the scene play all the way out.
Judas still brought the bread with him. He brought the body of Christ with him, even in his rejection of Christ, even in his misplaced hopes. And I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t just give me hope for my friends who’ve walked away. It gives me hope for me. Because just yesterday I let a wafer melt on my tongue and just this morning I doubted God’s goodness to me. Just yesterday I whispered “Thanks be to God” as I received the body of Christ and just this morning I forgot him.
Who knows how many times our friends have received communion, their faith wobbly and the sins done against them and their own sin at the forefront of their minds? But they still took it then and brought it with them when they left.
That comforts me this morning because I believe Christ cares about the one. I believe Christ came to save all. And I believe all have eternity written within them, and some carry it with them as they go. And perhaps someday when they need it, they will find the bread, the body, just as available to them then as it was when they left.