Unlimited: Betrayed with a Kiss
May 3, 2021 361
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him (Mark 14:44-46, NIV).
The armed mob arrived to arrest Jesus. Judas was at their head.
In Middle Eastern cultures, in the time of Jesus, men expressed friendship and affection in more physical ways than in western cultures. For example, at the last supper, we are told that the apostle John, “whom Jesus loved, was… leaning against Jesus’ breast” (John 13:23, WEB). This affection between men could also be expressed through hand-holding, embracing, and kissing on the cheek.
It is interesting that Judas pre-arranged to kiss Jesus as a signal to the mob. This tells us two things. The first thing it tells us is that Jesus didn’t stand out in any way in terms of his physical appearance. He looked just like the average first century Jewish man. The Message paraphrases Isaiah 53:2 like this:
“There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.”
When the Son of God walked the earth, there was nothing special about his appearance at all. What was special was who he was and what he did.
Judas’ kiss suggests that, in his own mind, his betrayal of Jesus wasn’t malicious. Somehow Judas thought that he was helping Jesus along, or even doing him a favour. He felt comfortable enough to walk up to Jesus and kiss him. How misguided he was!
– Eliezer Gonzalez
Eli’s Reflection: Can you think of a time in your life when you thought you were doing Jesus a favour, and then you discovered that he didn’t really need your help? Share your experience with a friend for your mutual encouragement.