Posted in 2022 Lent Devotions

A kiss

“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for March 14, 2022. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

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.

Posted in Lent devotions

A kiss is just a kiss

“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Sunday, March 7, 2021. Photo by Derek Thomson on Unsplash

Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.” And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. (Mark 14:44-45)

It’s night. It’s dark. The betrayer Judas has led a crowd armed with swords and clubs to a place where he knows Jesus will be with his disciples. Without a photo, a sketch or a wanted poster, how will they know which one to apprehend? Which of these Jewish men is Jesus?

Judas has it all worked out. “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and take him away. ” An innocent greeting would now deliver Jesus into the hands of his enemies.

Continue reading “A kiss is just a kiss”