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What Happens to Judas in the Bible Story of the Last Supper?

The Bible story of the Last Supper shows Judas' last conversation with Jesus, and a hint of the tragedy that will happen at the Garden of Gethsemane.

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Updated Jan 16, 2023
What Happens to Judas in the Bible Story of the Last Supper?

At the Last Supper, Judas Iscariot has a short conversation with Jesus that bewilders everyone else but gives a dark forewarning of his future actions. These actions are set in motion a couple of days before, and lead to both Jesus’ death on the cross and Judas’ death in a field of blood.

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What Did Judas Do Before the Last Supper?

On Palm Sunday, Judas and the other disciples went with Jesus into Jerusalem. Jesus rode a donkey, people left cloaks on the ground for Jesus’ mount to walk on, and others waved palm branches. When Jesus reached the Mount of Olives, the disciples rejoiced as well, shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38). Either after entering Jerusalem or on the next day, Jesus cleared the money-changers out of the temple.

Over the next couple of days (traditionally commemorated as Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday), Jesus spoke to people, teaching about the kingdom of God and the need for repentance. He also answered theological dilemmas posed by the religious leaders (members of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians) and rebuked them for their hypocrisy. Jesus and his disciples also spent time at the Mount of Olives (John 18:2). One of those times on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples about the coming end of Jerusalem.

Rather than staying in Jerusalem, Jesus spent the nights in Bethany, at the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. On one of those evenings (traditionally commemorated as Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday), Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment. Judas criticized her for not selling the expensive ointment and giving the proceeds to a good cause. John explains that Judas said this because he was the treasurer for Jesus’ group (John 12:6). So, Judas would take a share for himself before giving the rest to the poor.

Jesus defended Mary, and later that night, Judas went to see the religious leaders. He arranged a deal where he would get 30 pieces of silver for leading the authorities to Jesus, identifying him at a place where they could easily arrest him (Matthew 26:14-16). The religious leaders had already planned to arrest or kill Jesus but needed a private place where crowds wouldn’t stop them (Mark 12:12).

What Happened to Judas at the Last Supper?

After Judas agreed to betray Jesus, something unexpected happened. Jesus asked his disciples to prepare a room where he and all 12 of his disciples would eat the Passover. In the evening, Judas gathered with Jesus and the other disciples to eat the Passover meal. Rather than doing the conventional Passover meal routine, Jesus did something that surprised Judas and the others.

First, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet (a service reserved for servants or slaves). As he did so, Jesus observed, “you are clean, though not every one of you” (John 13:10). After he finished washing their feet, Jesus announced that one of them would betray him (Mark 14:18).

Apparently, Judas didn’t have a dirty reputation because no one immediately pointed fingers at him. Instead, all of the disciples each wondered if Jesus was referring to him (Mark 14:19). Reluctantly, Peter asked the disciple sitting next to Jesus to ask for more information.

Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” 

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:23-25)

John’s Gospel gives further dramatic details, showing what happened when Jesus handed Judas the bread from the bowl (their hands dipping into the same bowl):

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. 

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly. But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night. (John 13:26-30)

The fact that Judas took the bread Jesus had touched, he was “one who dips bread into the bowl with me” (Mark 14:20), highlights what a terrible thing Judas was doing. Eating a meal with someone is always an intimate activity—something we do to start friendships, mark special occasions, or plan important events. The sense of closeness and connection was stronger for first-century Jews since their society promoted community values over individualism. Community meals had something sacred about them. The fact that Judas would touch the same bread bowl as his close friend, taking the bread Jesus had offered while planning to betray him, shows what a terrible thing he was doing.

What Did Judas Do After the Last Supper?

After Judas left the room, Jesus took the bread and wine for the Passover and created a new ritual. He held the bread and said, “Take it; this is my body” (Mark 14:22). Then Jesus took the wine and said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many” (Mark 14:24). Then he and the disciples sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives. Jesus prayed fervently as he waited for his betrayer to come.

Judas knew the group would meet there as they often did in the evenings. So he got a group of guards and went to the Mount of Olives. He greeted Jesus and kissed him, identifying him for the guards (Matthew 14:43-46).

Jesus responded, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)

Judas probably knew that when Jesus called himself the Son of Man, he wasn’t just being poetic. The Son of Man, the title Jesus frequently used for himself, appears multiple times in the Old Testament. Clarence J. Haynes explains how the phrase often emphasizes someone’s humanity. However, as John Piper observes, the Old Testament sometimes uses it to describe a particular divine figure. In Daniel, the Son of Man meets the Ancient of Days in heaven, and “He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him” (Daniel 7:14). Judas would have heard Jesus use this title many times during the years he traveled with him. At that moment, Judas hearing Jesus say he was betraying someone with authority over the entire world, would have been unsettling.

What Happened to Judas After He Betrayed Jesus?

Matthew 27 explains that after Judas betrayed Jesus the following day, he got shocking news: the religious leaders had condemned Jesus to death for claiming to be God’s son. After they escorted Jesus to the Romans to demand crucifixion, Judas tried to return his 30 pieces of silver. The religious leaders rebuffed him, and Judas threw the money into the temple (Matthew 27:5). Later, he hung himself.

Acts 1 refers to Judas’ body falling headfirst and his organs bursting out in a field that became known as “The Field of Blood.” Scholars have speculated that this is a post-hanging description (Judas’s body falling headfirst as someone cut him down). Depending on where and how Judas hung himself, he might have fallen headfirst as he hung himself, or the hanging might have been unsuccessful, so Judas threw himself over a cliff.

Why Did Judas Agree to Betray Jesus?

Scripture doesn’t give us a clear, explicit reason why Judas was psychologically motivated to betray his friend. We get hints at his motivations leading up to the Last Supper and details about what was going on in the supernatural realm.

Vivian Bricker observes that 30 pieces of silver weren’t much in Judas’ day, so he wasn’t doing it for a big payday. Bricker also observes that Exodus 21:32 established 30 pieces of silver as the compensation sum to pay for a bull goring someone’s slave. Effectively then, Judas is betraying his friend for the price people would pay in a wrongful death suit—not much, just enough to cover funeral expenses.

Scripture does mention that Judas had been embezzling money from Jesus and his friends. He may have worried that Jesus was implying something else in his rebuke—that Jesus knew his crimes. If so, Judas might have been motivated to silence Jesus before getting caught. Judas’ shock at Jesus’ death sentence suggests he wasn’t expecting that punishment. He may have figured Jesus would be thrown in prison or banned from Jerusalem, something shameful that would discredit Jesus before he exposed Judas’ financial crimes. Or, he may have figured that even if Jesus died, it wouldn’t be by crucifixion—blasphemers were supposed to die by public stoning (Leviticus 24:16).

Two Gospels mention Satan entering Judas before the Last Supper occurred (Luke 22:3) (John 13:2) and when Judas took the bread from Jesus (John 13:27). Based on the wording in the original language, the writers may have meant Satan was tempting Judas, or the phrase “entered” could imply demonic possession.

Before Judas’ betrayal, Jesus implied at least twice that he knew one of his disciples would betray him. In John 6, he warns the disciples that “one of you is a devil” (John 6:70) and that “There are some of you who do not believe” (John 6:64). Jesus’ words suggest that he always knew what Judas would do. The words also suggest that somehow Judas was missing the full message. He may have joined Jesus because he expected Jesus to start a political revolution (a suggestion used in Easter movies like King of Kings). He may have planned to embezzle money from the start, seeing Jesus’ ministry as an easy way to get cash (who would accuse a holy man’s followers of petty theft?). Whatever Judas’ motivations were, they weren’t entirely pure.

Photo Credit: Leonardo Da Vinci/Public Domain Image

Connor SalterG. Connor Salter is a writer and editor, with a Bachelor of Science in Professional Writing from Taylor University. In 2020, he won First Prize for Best Feature Story in a regional contest by the Colorado Press Association Network. He has contributed over 1,200 articles to various publications, including interviews for Christian Communicator and book reviews for The Evangelical Church Library Association. Find out more about his work here.

Learn more about the meaning and significance behind the Easter holiday and Holy Week celebrations:

What is Lent? and When Does Lent Start?
What is Ash Wednesday? and When is Ash Wednesday?
What is Palm Sunday?
What is Maundy Thursday?
What is Good Friday? and When is Good Friday?
What is Holy Saturday?

What is Easter? and When is Easter Sunday?
Easter Bible Verses
The Resurrection of Jesus 
Easter Prayers


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