Author: Jerry Wong, Senior Pastor, Maranatha Bible Church, San Ramon
44 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.” 45 And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” And he kissed him. (Mark 14:44-45, ESV)
“The one I will kiss” — The kiss is a greeting between intimate friends; foreign to our culture, yet very common in the near east. It is a show of affection and closeness. Of all the ways to identify Jesus for arrest, why this way? You would think everyone in Jerusalem would know who Jesus was. Couldn’t Judas just point him out? The requirement to kiss Jesus could be because of a few possibilities. It was a spur of the moment decision and there wasn’t enough time to prepare. Not likely since Judas approached the rulers early on and was waiting for an opportunity. It was very dark and the only way to clearly identify Jesus was to kiss him. If it wasn’t too dark to see the kiss, it wouldn’t have been too dark to point him out. This leaves a third and most troubling possibility. Judas was betraying his good friend in the most perverse way possible. This isn’t just burning the bridge. It’s burning the bridge, bombing the foundations, damming up the river and replacing the water with molten lava. This is a betrayal probably borne out of deep seated anger. This is an educated guess but given the options available to Judas and the amount of time he had to prepare, to do it this way inflicts the greatest pain upon Jesus than any other. Ever been betrayed by someone close to you in such a way that though the event is long past, the wound still throbs? Jesus knows how you feel. And in your great desire for justice, and even vengeance, would you look at His example? Jesus doesn’t strike out. He lays His life in the hands of the Father. Why does He do this? You might say, well He’s God in the flesh, He has that god-stuff so He can take it. Well the good news is that the god-stuff he has is ours as well — He’s called the Holy Spirit. Jesus submitted to the Father because He knew that there will be a final judgment, a final settling of accounts. Because God is judge and all powerful, no injustice, no betrayal, will go unresolved. Ever been betrayed? Does the wound throb? Allow the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ to bathe that wound and relieve the lingering pain. Relinquish your anger to the judge of all. His son will shortly be unjustly accused, tortured, and killed by the very people He set apart to be His special people. Ever been betrayed? Talk to Jesus about how He felt. Does the wound throb? Ask Him about His. And may Lenten Hope sustain you.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior