He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Jesus had been agonizing in prayer and struggling with having to face so much suffering in his sacrifice for our sake (see Luke 22:39-46). He was with his disciples in a garden on the Mount of Olives when Judas came, leading a small crowd of religious officials and soldiers to arrest him and put him on trial.
Though Jesus’ victory over sin and death were certain, battles were still being waged. We see this in Judas’s kiss of betrayal as if it were a friend’s kiss of greeting. No wonder Jesus asked Judas, “… with a kiss?”
In today’s reading, the evil seen in Judas’s betrayal contrasts with Christ’s healing touch. We learn that the kingdom does not come by the sword, but with deeds of love and mercy. Even in this chaotic scene, Jesus takes the time to show kindness, healing the servant’s severed ear.
Jesus motivates us to be like him. His gracious touch moves us to offer a gracious touch, a word of encouragement, or a visit to a lonely soul. His love motivates us to forgive.
The contrasts remain: Jesus went from there to the courts of the Jewish leaders and the Roman governor and eventually to the cross. But he walked out of the grave. Darkness did not defeat him. Love won out, as it does whenever we do right. Darkness does not reign. The victory of life is secure in Christ, now and always!
Jesus, thank you for your love, mercy, and kindness. Help us to be more like you. In your name, Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!