On which cheek do you kiss Jesus?
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 8, 2011
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. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. (Mark 14:43-46 NIV)
Betrayal takes many forms: A whispered word, a bribe, turned confidence, or even a kiss. Can you imagine giving a kiss to someone and using it to pinpoint the one you want to betray? Judas does. We wonder why because many of the Jewish leadership had seen Jesus and they had sent others to debate and spy on him. There were many who knew him by sight. Yet we find that the prearranged signal would be Judas’ kiss.
A kiss was used to signify difference to a leader or, in this case, a rabbi teacher whom one respected. Judas uses a kiss to try and force the hand of Jesus but to also betray him in to the hands of Jesus’ enemies.
Judas may not have wanted the death of Jesus, but Judas was blinded by his own desires for what he wanted Jesus to be. And here is a truth we would do well not to ignore: We do the very same thing when we “kiss” Jesus on one cheek and yet strike him on another. Jesus told his disciples to “turn the other cheek” when they are wronged, but here he is kissed by his betrayer on the cheek he turns to him. We are so willing to kiss Jesus and say we ‘believe” in him and yet we are so quick to betray him with our attitudes and actions. We desire Jesus to be what we want him to be just as Judas did. We kiss him on Sunday but betray him on Monday. We kiss him with songs of praise yet our hearts are far from him. We make noises of following him wherever he leads but when we are led to share our faith, give, or serve – we simply turn away. Like Judas the betrayer, we would rather have a Jesus genie in a bottle than a Savior who desires all of us.
Paul tells us that we are to present ourselves as “living sacrifices,” yet we crawl away into the darkness.
“The one I kiss is the man,” we convince ourselves and we tacitly call him “Rabbi,” but betray him with every motive and movement of our lives. Let me ask you, which cheek do you kiss Jesus on?
Pastor Lee Hemen has been the outspoken pastor of the same church for 25 years in Vancouver, WA. He writes regularly on spirituality and conservative causes and maintains several web blogs. This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.