“The contrarian in me loves this – a look at Jesus through the eyes of His betrayer. And a look at our own relationship with Jesus through exploring theirs.”
Barnabas Piper, Author of ‘The Pastor’s Kid’, ‘Help My Unbelief’, and ‘The Curious Christian’
The kiss of death
No matter what our culture says and what social mores they’ve come to accept, kissing is intimate. You’re in someone’s space, you’re touching them, and you’re not merely touching, you’re touching lips. Now, I understand that Judas didn’t touch lips with Jesus, but he shared something intimate with the Son of God in order to betray Him.
One of the most intimate of human experiences was used as a signal to turn the Son of God over to His destroyers. This kiss would notify the guards who to mock, ridicule, beat, scourge and nail to a cross. This kiss would bring separation between Jesus and His disciples. This kiss would be the moment Jesus’ entire life has been building up to. This kiss of death, however, would bring God’s plan of redemption to fruition.
This kiss signified death. It signified death for Jesus. It was part of the plan Judas had discussed with the guards. It signified death for Judas. He looked one last time into the eyes of the Man who could save him and simply turned him over. It signified the death of death. Three days later, Christ would roll away the stone and walk away from that tomb. It signified the death of life as we know it. This earth is now closer to its end but the beginning of life eternal is ready for its beginning.
The ‘kiss’ of Christ
The beautiful hymn, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, contains these rich lyrics that reflect upon the Savior on the cross, ‘Did e’er such love and sorrow meet? Or thorns compose so rich a crown?’. Two polar opposites coming together: love and sorrow; sharp thorns and rich crown … kiss and betrayal. These things didn’t belong together, but they were brought together through the man Jesus Christ. Judas disgraced the kiss by using it to betray the Savior of the world. The kiss did not deserve to be disgraced in the manner Judas did. Judas betrayed with a kiss. The greatest traitor in human history kissing the most faithful and trustworthy. Christ, however, has a kiss of His own. What is the ‘kiss’ of Christ? The kiss of Christ is epitomized in the reality of the divine God ‘kissing’ humanity by becoming a human being. Jesus the King became Jesus the babe. The Creator became creature by taking on flesh, leaving His throne and coming to dwell with sinful man. The King of Glory does not belong among prostitutes, tax collectors and self-righteous Pharisees, yet He humbled Himself and dwelt among them.
King of contrasts
What else doesn’t belong together? Enemies adopted as children. You see, God has a way of reconciling things that don’t belong. Judas abused the kiss but God used it to bring His plan of redemption to completion. Christ’s disciples argued about who was the greatest, but Christ became the least so we could inherit the Kingdom. Leaders don’t serve and servants don’t lead, but Jesus led by serving, reconciling what doesn’t belong together. Giving away something is losing, but Christ reconciled giving as receiving.
Any one of us can see a lot of ourselves in Judas. He was an idolater and so are we. He feared man and so do we. He lacked faith and so do we. He sinned against Jesus and so do we. We should be humbled as we survey the life of Judas and realize our lives are often anything but faithful. However, we serve a Savior of reconciliation and He’s the faithful one that reconciles the faithless to Himself.
The above extract is from John Perritt’s new book, published with Christian Focus, What Would Judas Do?: Understanding faith through the most famous of the faithless. If you don’t have a Christian bookstore near you, you may want to consider purchasing a copy from one of the online book retailers listed below: