"Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Luke 22:35-53 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And He said to them, “When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” They said, “No, nothing.” 36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” 38 They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? 53 While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”
In today’s text it says: While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” There are many different theories and speculations about what Judas’ motive may have been for betraying Jesus. Regardless of motive, what remains is that he was one of the twelve. Judas, one of the twelve men who had spent three years with Jesus, hearing His teaching, seeing the miracles and the compassion of Christ, betrayed Him. There are many today, who like the religious leaders of His day, hate and reject Jesus. There are those today, who like Peter, even though they love the Lord, deny Him. But to betray Him and that with a kiss, is unthinkable. Or is it?
Regarding those who would deny Him, Jesus says: “Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26) Regarding those who reject and hate Him Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’” (John 15:18-25) In John 3: 17-20 Jesus does speak of the reason or the cause of their hatred. He says: “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” It is the light of Christ that those who reject Him hate. It is that their evil deeds and evil hearts are exposed by His goodness and light, that causes them to reject and hate Jesus and also those who follow Him.
But what of those who are close to Jesus, those who have walked with Him, heard His teaching and known His compassion, mercy and grace, yet they betray Him. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” In Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus says: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” In Matthew 18:6-7 Jesus says: “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” For those who are close to Jesus, it is not enough that they would know Him and call Him Lord. They must be known by Him. We cannot do enough good for Jesus; even prophesying in His name and casting out demons, to overcome a heart that still loves darkness and evil. It is not enough that we call Jesus Lord, if we practice lawlessness and teach others to do the same. Jesus says we shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. If our betrayal of Christ and His message causes others to stumble, Jesus says woe. Even if we disguise our betrayal with a kiss, making it look as though we love and revere Christ, we betray Him if we sin and teach others that sin is okay.
In today’s text it says: When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Jesus says we should pray that we may not enter into temptation. Like Jesus, the way and the will of the Father may not be the easiest or most popular, but we should pray that His will would be done. We should pray against the temptation to deny Christ, to reject Him and most of all that we would never betray Him, even under the guise of love.
The text says: Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.” We live in a time, an hour, when the power of darkness seems to be overwhelming the light. We though must pray. We must pray that we would not fall into temptation. We must pray that we would know and be known by Jesus. We must love light. We must be those who stand with and for Jesus, teaching others what is right. There is a quote which says: It is always darkest before the dawn. If that is true then we should expect that the dawn and the light is coming soon.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. I choose light over darkness and good over evil. May I know You and Your will, but even more, may I be known by You, under the shadow of the cross, where I am forgiven. Amen.