“And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man. Seize Him and lead Him away under guard.’ And when he came, he went up to Him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ And he kissed Him.” (Mark 14:43-45 ESV)
I must say, I’m not impressed with Judas’s choice of a signal. He took a sign of love—a kiss—and turned it into a sign of betrayal.
And yet, if I’m honest, my own kisses hold the seeds of betrayal. Every time I say “I love You” to the Lord, there’s still a tiny, traitorous bit of me that is either doing evil, about to do evil, or recovering from it. Oh, but my evil isn’t like that of Judas. It’s only gossip—only shading the truth—only, only, only. Only a little thing. Only something that led Jesus to the cross.
And realizing that can lead to anguish. How can I ever love God properly if sin gets in the way? What hope is there for me?
And yet … a kiss can start from either side, right? If I kiss the Lord, my betrayal is always with me. But if He kisses me … well, then. There is no evil in His love, no betrayal—only forgiveness, mercy, salvation. That is what the cross was about. That is what the empty tomb was for.
The Bible is right: “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth! For Your love is better than wine” (Song of Solomon 1:2 ESV).
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for taking the initiative and bringing us into Your love. Amen.
* Tell about a kiss you remember.
* When you feel like you’ve let God down, how do you find His comfort again?
* How do you stay focused on God’s love for you?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Reprinted from Lutheran Hour Ministries
(To view the entire “Lenten Devotions” mini-series, please click here.)