Sunday, March 22, 2015

Betrayal With a Kiss

48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. (Matthew 26:48-51)
We know it was really skunky of Judas to use a kiss as an act of betrayal and elsewhere in the Gospels we see Jesus was disturbed by this too, but why did Judas decide to use a kiss?  Why not point and shout, “That’s him, boys, the one who is kneeling!” or something like that?

I think it was because Judas wanted to maintain the appearance of being friendly.  He hoped that Jesus and the other disciples not connect the kiss with Jesus’s capture.  (We don’t often catch this point because in video dramatizations time is compressed so that it seems like the Jews come practically on Judas’ heels.)  He wanted the arrest to come as a complete surprise and he didn’t want to be seen as the cause and facilitator of it.  In short, it was hypocrisy.

Clearly it didn’t work.  Jesus knew what was happening, and the apostles knew about it soon too, though we’re not sure at what point they heard or figured it out.

Are there those today who are trying to betray Christ under the guise of a kiss of fellowship?  Yes.  The message of this story is that their part in the betrayal will be made known.  They may bring trouble on the Saints, but with the Lord’s help, the Saints will rise above it.  No unhallowed hand can stop the work of the Lord.