Apr 5, 2007

maundy thursday: a kiss

Have you ever been at either end of a kiss gone wrong?

One-sided? Too soon? Kind of smelly? Very, very wrong?

There’s always a risk in a kiss... and a cost in a kiss.

Whenever you reach out you face the possibility of rejection or the possibility of forming a bond. Most of the time it has to do with how the other person responds... which is perhaps why these verses are so interesting.

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.

Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." (Matthew 26:47-50)

And so Judas walked straight up to Jesus and kissed him.

So much risk tied up in that one kiss...

  • Judas risked his political career, believing he could force the hand of the Son of God into achieving his desire for freedom from Rome.
  • Judas risked the life he had known for the past three years.
  • Judas risked his community by giving up his friends.
  • Judas risked his life... physically and spiritually.

Maybe he didn't think about any of this or sit down and calculate the risk.

Maybe he should have.

Yet for some crazy, beyond-us reason... Jesus received the kiss.

He did not walk away.

He did not turn his head.

He stood and allowed Judas to come close, so close his breath touched His face as his lips brushed the cheek of Jesus.

There’s always a risk in a kiss... and a cost in a kiss.

Perhaps you want to jump ahead to Sunday... but let's not overlook this moment.

Two friends... affectionally acknowledging a betrayal.

What about all the times God has allowed me to come so close, only to feel the sting of rejection in the same breath when I hold back from Him? In allowing me to come close, Jesus acknowledges the risk and the cost... the path that laysahead. He knows that I will hurt Him with betrayal repeatedly whenever I choose my own way, path, or lesser-lover.

Still... He does not walk away.

He does not turn his head.

He stands and allows me to come close, so close my breath touches His face as my lips brush His cheek.

There’s always a risk in a kiss... and a cost in a kiss.

The name "Maundy" comes from the Latin words "it is commanded." This is in remembrance of the "new" commandment given by Jesus in John 13:34-35 as He was celebrated His last Passover with His disciples.

This is when He said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (NIV).

And so when someone leans in for that kiss... someone whom I know will betray me...

how do I in that moment not walk away...

nor turn my head...

but just stand and allow them to come close, so close their breath touches my face as their lips brush my cheek?

There’s always a risk in a kiss... and a cost in a kiss.


Movin' On Up To the East Side said...

You have seriously never heard of American Idol, and you live in the US? It's on Fox on Tuesdays at 8 and Wednesdays at 9. go to americanidol.com for more.

Tony Myles said...

Totally kidding... I'm always amazed at how much something is a part of culture and yet there are people who seriously don't know about it.

Kind of like Jesus?

michael_koert said...

interesting comments above. but the kiss. never realized what it took for that to happen. Jesus knowing accepted that. And He did that for us to do that same. It hard. I dont know how many times I have turned my check or walked away.
Well it leaves me in thought. Thanks

Tony Myles said...

You and I both, Michael.

Carolanne said...

I'd never thought of it like that either. Jesus accepted the kiss of betrayal from someone He loved and didn't reject. I doubt I could do the same.

And, as you said, how many times have we been close to God and then gone our own way and hurt Him with our betrayal.

Thanks for making me think about this.

Joy said...

Hi You are terific!
I am a catholic priest from India.Could you send me some more solid thoughts on the kiss of Judas. I want to use it for my Holy Week.
thanking you.
blessed easter!

Tony Myles said...

Thanks, Joy. You didn't leave a contact email, so I hope you get this.

Some great thoughts can be found for study and preaching at http://www.blueletterbible.com - from time to time, I pop over there as well. Since so much is there, it may be the free resource you're looking for.