The Judas Kiss

Nov 15, 2014 4151

Judas' Kiss by Robert Schoeller

Judas’ Kiss by Robert Schoeller

While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came. With him was a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss.” 49 Just then he came to Jesus and said, “Hello, Rabbi.” Then he kissed him. – Matt 26:47–50

What was Judas thinking when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss.

The Greek word used here is kataphilein, which means to kiss intensely, passionately, or warmly.

I have been in the Middle East and seen how men in that culture will hold hands as they walk down the street. They are much more physically affectionate than we are here in the west. And when you look at the knives tucked into their robes, you know that it has nothing at all due to a lack of manliness!

I have been in the Middle East and seen how men in that culture will hold hands as they walk down the street. They are much more physically affectionate than we are here in the west. And when you look at the knives tucked into their robes, you know that it has nothing at all due to a lack of manliness!

Maybe in that fateful kiss, Judas had a momentary flash of panic – some realization of what he was doing – and not wanting to let go of Jesus, he held on to that kiss longer than usual.

Maybe in that kiss, Judas thought that he was doing a great thing – finally empowering Jesus to declare himself king and show his power.

Maybe Judas through it didn’t matter because he had seen Jesus get himself out of worse situations… and Judas had made himself some money.

We will never know what Judas was thinking, because the gospel tells us that later that night, realizing that he had made the mistake of his life, Judas “hanged himself” (Matt 27:5).

It was a seemingly beautiful kiss… with a horror-filled outcome. As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” You see, behind that kiss was the momentary popularity of the mob, the thrill of a well-conceived and executed plan, and a purse of 30 pieces of silver.

Even the best of humanity – our best-laid plans, our best intentions, and our noblest sentiments – can become things of horror when they come from an unsanctified heart, without the love of Christ.

It is a shocking thought – that even our most beautiful kiss can be the kiss of death.

What was Judas thinking? That he could do it alone? That he was smarter than Christ? That he could help Christ with the work Christ had to do? That there was no harm in it?

How many times have I thought the same things? That my plans were better? That I could do it without Christ? That even for a second, I could get by on my own wisdom and strength? How many times have I stood in that garden and betrayed my Lord with a kiss?

Truly the words of the old hymn ring truer and truer for me as times passes by. Yes, indeed Lord Jesus, “I need thee every hour.”

Examine me, God! Look at my heart!

Put me to the test!

Know my anxious thoughts!

Look to see if there is any idolatrous way in me,


then lead me on the eternal path!

– Psalm 139:23–24

Eliezer Gonzalez

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