Why did Judas kiss Jesus?
Mark 14: 43-51
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50 Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
Why did Judas kiss Jesus?
What we know is that he had arranged for this as the signal for who Jesus was. It made sense for the Roman soldiers would not have known who he was, it was dark and difficult to see and some have even thought that Jesus looked similar to other disciples.
But it still doesn’t answer the question. Why didn’t Judas just point out Jesus? Why didn’t he just go up to Jesus and grab his arm and reveal to the soldiers who to arrest? Why kiss Jesus?
I don’t think this was a signal at all. Yes, that’s what he told the soldiers and it did act as such but that wasn’t the real reason for Judas. This was about him and Jesus only. This was about the mission.
- The disciples believed Jesus was a different Messiah than he actually came to be. They had heard his words of love and sacrifice but actually were still expecting him to lead a rebellion and overthrow the Roman Gentile oppressors bringing victory to God’s people. They still believed this even after the resurrection in some form (Acts 1:6). They had swords they carried and as the passage shows were ready to use them.
- Judas’ betrayal wasn’t trying to end the ministry of Jesus (though that is what Satan who had entered Judas wanted to do). It was to provoke it to move faster and become the revolutionary ministry that everyone wanted.
- The kiss was Judas showing the same cultural respect and love for his leader. “I am with you, I am one of your team, look at who is here, they have come to arrest you so now let’s fight, let’s do this, let’s overcome the oppressors, let the revolution begin!” Later, realising that Jesus was actually going to go through with what he said and willingly die, he couldn’t cope with what he had done, he realised he had badly misunderstood his friend.
Do we kiss Jesus this way?
So much about the story is foreign to us. We do not betray. We do not lead a crowd to arrest Jesus.
But let me ask again.
Are our kisses to Jesus true? Or are they loaded with what we want? If I kiss him then he will move in the way I want him to. He will do what I want.
I will worship Him for what I can get from Him. I want Him to bless what I am doing, to do what I think is the best action, “look Jesus here let me kiss you and show you my love, now move!”
Let’s make our kisses true and not manipulative.