While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47-48)
We kiss our babies. Our spouses. Those we love one last time before they close the casket. A kiss is a universal expression of affection and love. We think long and hard before we finally lean in to kiss a special someone for the very first time. And when we do, it’s the best thing ever!
Judas’ kiss is different. It is well thought out. It will signal a waiting mob so they know who to arrest. It will reveal Jesus to those who want to kill him. It is the ultimate betrayal.
Can you see yourself in this moment? Who are you in this scene? Are you the one being betrayed? Or are you the betray-er? Or are you simply there to watch this scene play out?
Our is a world of mixed signals. A nod might mean “how ya doing’?” rather than “Yes.” A wink can mean “just kidding” instead of “how you doin’?” Body language that says, “No,” as the person nods and says, “Yes!” Does the kiss mean, “I love you,” or “Buh-bye”?
There are some wonderful kisses in the bible. When Esau and Jacob reconcile, when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers in Egypt, and when a woman kisses the feet of Jesus after wiping them with her hair. There are terrible kisses in the bible, too. When Isaac thinks he’s kissing and blessing his son Esau, when it’s really Jacob (Genesis 27:26). Or when Absalom slowly but surely steals allegiance from his father, David (2 Samuel 15:5). Or just before Joab stabs Amasa (2 Samuel 20:8-10).
Jesus knew what this kiss meant. He got the message and so did the mob.
Do you get the message? It’s easy to say, “I love Jesus.” It’s not so easy to live like we do. Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments.” But we don’t. Talk about mixed signals.
The only clear message is his love for us, a love we can be sure of because he came, was kissed and betrayed, was crucified and died for us. No mixed messages here. He is love. He loves us. He loves me.
Thank you for the love note, Lord. Amen.