By, Kelly Edmondson
"And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude
with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.
Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying,
Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him."
The kiss of Judas is intentional and deliberate. And even though stories have two sides and there are misunderstandings, differing philosophies, and growth that leads friends in different directions, the kiss of Judas is none of these things. The kiss of Judas is an evil betrayal.
I have felt that kiss. Warm and yet oddly cold at the same time. Confusing and disarming because the kiss came from someone who claimed to love me. I have analyzed that kiss- mulled it over in my mind time and time again. Why didn’t I recognize the truth? Why didn’t I see it coming? Words like narcissism, hubris, gaslighting, and wolf helped to explain certain phenomenon, but these words didn’t remove the feeling of those evil lips against my cheek.
Have you felt that kiss? Have you been betrayed? The worst betrayals come from those we trust- a family member, a friend, a pastor…people who claim to love you. What do we do with Judas’ kiss? How do we move forward?
I wish I could write as an expert in this area. I wish I could wax eloquent on how I’ve overcome my betrayals and forgiven my Judas. Unfortunately, I’m not there, yet. But there’s this one thing that I do know. This one thing that brings me some measure of comfort. It’s knowing that Jesus felt that kiss on his cheek, too. Jesus stood there in the garden, knowing exactly what was happening as Judas leaned in with his oh-so-fake smile, silver coins clinking under his robes. Then came the arrest, the trial, the torture, the crucifixion… and finally the resurrection. The resurrection! Would that have come without the kiss?
I picture myself beside Jesus. We stand shoulder to shoulder, his hand brushing mine as that betrayal comes. I’m comforted knowing that He was there. And not only does He know I was betrayed, He knows exactly how I feel about it. As came the resurrection, so comes my sanctification.
Friend, healing and forgiveness will come in time. It is nothing unfamiliar to the one who stood that night in the garden.