Coordinating the Betrayal
Accounts
Some have concluded that John’s account of the evening before the Messiah's capture
was a completely different event to the other three Gospels.  A look at the betrayal
account, in all four Gospels, dispels this assumption.

It is interesting to note that Luke apparently puts the betrayal account out of sequence.  
For it comes after the bread and wine, in his account, and before the discussion about who
was greatest – which is before the meal in the other accounts.  Mark and Matthew show
that the bread and wine came after the betrayal account.  As both of these accounts
agree, logic implies that they have the right order of events.

Mark 14:18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth
with me shall betray me.

Mat 26:21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Luke 22:21  But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

John 13:21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily,
I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Mark and Matthew are close together in the above verses.  Mark reveals they were
sitting as they ate.  Mark also reveals that the betrayer was eating with them.  Matthew
reveals the last point in a more subtle way.  He says that <one of you> indicating the
betrayer was at the table with them.  Mark is more specific on that point.

Luke says that the hand of him that betrays me is with me on the table.  This phrase
indicates that Judas was there and eating with them that evening.  Luke is not saying that
Judas's hand was on the table.  This is probably an idiomatic expression in the Greek, or
even a Hebraism.  The word <hand> signifies the one who was helping along His betrayal.  
The word <on> could just as well been translated <at> the table.

Even John used the same phrase as Matthew and Mark, "Verily I say to you that one of
you shall betray me."  John adds that the Messiah was troubled in spirit.  Luke probably
gave the sense of the phrase and the other writers gave the exact statement, or both
phrases of commentary could be a part of this segment of the evening, with one writer
selecting one phrase and the others choosing the other phrase.

John did add a second <verily>.  If we take the one statement given by Matthew, Mark,
and John, and add it to Luke's statement we would have something like this:

Behold the hand of him that betrays me is with me at the table.... then after some pause,
realizing that it had not sunk in....Verily, verily I tell you that one of you eating with me
shall betray me.

The phrase given by Matthew, Mark, and John, was probably remembered the most
because it seems to have been rather emphasized by the use of <verily> and in John's
account <verily, verily>.  It is as though He said what Luke records and then realizing
they had not gotten it, came back with the more emphasized statement of Matthew,
Mark, and John.

As John agrees with Mark and Matthew, one cannot use this point to prove two separate
events.

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Mark 14:19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I?  and another
said, Is it I?

Mat 26:22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is
it I?

Luke 22:23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this
thing.

John 13:22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.

In this segment, we have the following: Mark says they began to be sorrowful and
Matthew adds <exceeding> sorrowful.  Luke and John do not mention this point.

Mark next says that they began to say to Him <one by one> Is it I?  Matthew says that
<each> (as this word can be translated) one of them began to say, Lord, is it I?

Matthew adds the word <Lord> to what Mark says.  

However, Luke and John do not mention at all that each one or that one by one they
asked any such question.

Luke says that they began to enquire among themselves who would do such a thing; and
John records the same thing in a little different way.  The disciples looked at one another
<doubting> or questioning among themselves of whom He spake.

Therefore, while Mark and Matthew are close together on this point, Luke and John took
a different approach and yet Luke and John are close together on their point.

With a table of twelve men, it is obvious that some would hear certain parts of what was
going on that the others did not hear.  The disciples on one end of the table could have
asked the Messiah one by one who would betray Him and the other end of the table was
asking among themselves who would do such a deed.  Or, more likely, those who were on
either end of the table and would have had to shout in order to be heard were probably
questioning among themselves while those close to the Messiah were asking, Lord, Is it I?

Have you ever eaten at a table where there were at least 12 people conversing.  It is
rather difficult to talk to more than just the 3 or 4 people around you.  It would be
unreasonable to believe that a group of 12 people could come away from an evening meal
with only one perspective of the evening conversation.

As Luke and John agree on this point, one cannot use it to prove two separate occasions.

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Mark 14:20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the
dish.

Mat 26:23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall
betray me.

Only Mark and Matthew mention the above point.  Mark says that He answered <them>
(obviously the ones who began to question Him one by one): It is one of the twelve, who
dips with me in the dish.  Matthew does not mention that it was one of the twelve, but uses
the word <hand> in the dipping statement, and that the same would betray Him.

This statement was not to give the disciples a sign to determine whom the betrayer was,
for several of them dipped in a common dish to eat.  This signifies a fulfillment of Psalms
41:9 that it would be a familiar friend in whom He trusted, who regularly ate with Him
that lifted up his heel against Him.

Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted
up his heel against me.

This statement has nothing to do with what John mentions later about giving Judas a sop.  
Mark and Matthew’s statement is general.  However, John's statement is specific.  The
Messiah would not have made a statement to all the disciples that the one who dipped into
His dish that evening was the betrayer.  If He had, none of the disciples would have taken
a common sop the rest of the evening.  He was giving them enough information to let them
know that the betrayer was among them that very evening.

In the statement,
“One that dips with me in the dish will betray me” – the word <he> in
Matthew is not a specific reference, rather, it is general.

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The following verses go with the above segment:

Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the
Son of man is betrayed!  Good were it for that man if he had never been born.

Mat 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of
man is betrayed!  It had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Luke 22:22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he
is betrayed!  (This statement is apparently out of sequence in Luke)

Mark and Matthew are practically together on this point.  John does not mention this
point.  However, Luke's verse 22 should probably have fallen sequentially with Mark and
Matthew here.  It would have been unlikely that Christ made this particular statement
twice that evening.  It is not a general statement.  The strength of this statement indicates
that Christ said it only one time that evening.

The fact that Mark and Matthew are together on this point in the story would indicate
that Luke is out of sequence here and not them.

The fact that John does not mention this point does not prove, in any way, two different
events.  No writer is bound to record every statement of an evening’s conversation.  
Furthermore, John may not have heard the statement so that he could record it!  He could
very well have been engaged in conversation with the person next to him at the time.  If
the Messiah was sitting on his left, he could have been speaking with the person on his
right.

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Some think that John was the disciple "leaning on the Messiah’s bosom."  It seems that
the same man, Peter mentions in 1Peter 5:13, wrote the Gospel according to Mark.  From
this we could draw the inference that Mark received his information from Peter, for his
writing.  This would indicate that Peter was among the group that had said, Lord, Is it I?  
But Peter wanted to know more about who this was, and yet did not want to ask the
Messiah directly, so apparently he got John's attention and told him to ask the Messiah
whom He was speaking of.  Notice that Peter does not ask, "Is it I?" through John,
rather, he wants to know exactly of whom the Messiah is speaking.  Therefore, John
records this part of the conversation.

1 Peter 5:13 The [church that is] at Babylon, elected together with [you], saluteth you; and [so doth]
Marcus my son.

John (Assuming that the one leaning on the Messiah’s bosom was John) then asked the
Master who it was.  The Messiah answered,
“He it is to whom I shall give a sop, when I have
dipped it”.
 Moreover, apparently He immediately dipped a sop and gave it to Judas
Iscariot.  Perhaps only John had heard what the Messiah had said.  For later the rest were
wondering why Judas left before everybody else.  Furthermore, we are not told that John
gave Peter the answer he sought.

John 13:23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
25 He then lying on Jesus' breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.  And when he had
dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

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Only Matthew records the following information.  Apparently after the Messiah gave
Judas the sop, it smote his conscience and he then asked, Master, Is it I?  The Master
said, yes.

Mat 26:25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I?  He said unto him,
Thou hast said.

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Satan entered into Judas after the sop.  It was an honor to receive a sop from the
Master.  Everyone dipped into the same dish, but to receive a sop from the Teacher was a
greater honor.  Judas now realized that the Master knew of his plot.  No one else at the
table knew what this was all about except John, or the disciple who was sitting close to
the Messiah.  Some thought that the Messiah was sending him out to purchase something
for the upcoming feast or to give something to the poor.  For that reason, it is clear that
the Messiah had given no sign earlier so that the entire group could detect the betrayer.  
As far as they were concerned, this revelation would come later.  Considering that we
have no biblical record that Judas dipped into the dish with the Messiah, and that the
disciples suspected no fowl play even after Christ gave him the sop, proves that the
Messiah’s statement about His betrayer being one who dipped into the common dish was
not a sign of the betrayer.  The sign was that Christ would give a sop to the betrayer –
and according to the record, only one disciple knew of this sign.  The bible does not tell us
whether this disciple told anyone else or whether anyone overheard this statement.  
Perhaps he did tell Peter, as he was the one who asked for this information through the
disciple next to Christ.  It is clear that the majority did not know of this sign because of
their reaction to Judas’s leaving the room, after the sop.  They probably suspected
anyone except Judas, as he was the treasurer.  As soon as Judas received the sop, he
immediately went out and it was night.

John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him.  Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do
quickly.
28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.
29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those
things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

There are no contradictions between any of the gospels.  They all dovetail.  We should not
demand that everyone had to say, “Lord is it I”.  Nor should we demand that all the men
looked around questioning – “Who is it”.  It is evident that Matthew and Mark recorded
the one event while Luke and John records the other event.  Both happened, whether
they happened simultaneously or one after the other, we do not know.  One part probably
asked one by one and another part of them questioned among themselves.  There could
have been an overlapping action going on.  In other words, some could have been asking,
“Lord, Is it I” while others could have been questioning among themselves.  As those who
had been questioning among themselves began to ask, “Lord, Is it I” the others could have
questioned among themselves about who it was.  The fact that Luke and John make the
same general statement that they questioned among themselves shows that this Last
Supper was not two separate events, one recorded by the synoptic gospels and the other
recorded by John.  All four gospels are speaking of the same evening, the last meal the
Messiah ate with His disciples before He suffered.
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