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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Betrayed with a Kiss

June 15, 2014

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. (Mark 14:44,45, NIV)

We learn the complete details of Judas’ arrival in Gethsemane from reading the first three Gospels.

Matthew and Mark tell us the crowd was armed with swords and clubs. Matthew records they were sent from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Mark, the condensed Gospel, records Judas as speaking only one word to Jesus, “Rabbi.” That one word tells us Judas’ frame of mind. He had repudiated the confession of faith in Jesus as the Messiah; to Judas, Jesus was only another rabbi, a teacher.

Luke’s Gospel notes Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus calls him “Friend,” and says, “Do what you came for” (Matthew 26:50).

From these brief accounts, we mine some sobering truths.

Judas followed Jesus for three years, but at the end his opinion of Jesus had diminished. How many, like Judas, began to follow Jesus, witnessed Him do wonderful things, and marveled at His teaching; but, in the end, devotion failed? The earlier faith was repudiated. Jesus is no longer the One, He’s just another one.

It’s sobering to recognize that multitudes throughout Christian history have done the same as Judas. Visit any church today and you will find the same thing. Those who once sang the songs of Zion and testified of faith in Jesus have, like Judas, fallen away.

How about you? Is that the best title you can give Jesus, “Rabbi?”

Judas’ devaluation of Jesus did not change Jesus’ love for Judas. Jesus calls the traitor, “Friend.” We should be amazed at that. Even when we are at our worst, the grace of Jesus is given us and, like He did to Judas, Jesus calls us friend.

Mark gives us very few words that cannot be found in the other Gospels. When these words occur, we recognize they must come from someone positioned very close to Jesus. For example, Mark is the only Gospel writer to record that Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the storm (4:38). We know from early second-century tradition that Peter influenced the writing of Mark. Likely, Peter is the one who awakened Jesus, and that’s why we have the detail of the cushion.

In the Gethsemane betrayal of Jesus, Mark gives us a detail not found elsewhere. Peter must have been standing very close to catch the nuance. Mark notes that the betrayer had given them a sign saying, “The one I kiss is the man.” In Greek, the word for kiss is philein.

However, when Judas came and actually kissed Jesus, the word for kiss in the Greek is kata-philein. The prefix, kata, in front of philein changes the nature of the transaction. Kata-philein is a kiss of intensity — as when the woman kissed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:38), or the father kissed the prodigal (Luke 15:20), or the elders at Ephesus kissed Paul goodbye (Acts 20:37). Judas did not give Jesus an ordinary courtesy kiss.

The intense kiss makes the act of betrayal even more dastardly. Yet, according to Matthew’s Gospel, the response of Jesus is to call him, “Friend.” Judas’ betrayal could not shake the love of Jesus for him.

No one who goes to hell can ever say, “Jesus did not love me.”

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I pray to always be true to You.

DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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