But Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48).
Jesus awakens His disciples. While He is telling them to stay awake and pray, Jewish temple guards come forward with Judas at the lead. They come in force to maintain control, as they take Jesus into custody. Their presence will be especially necessary if word should get out to the great crowd of Jewish pilgrims, hanging on Jesus’ words in the temple.
The large number of temple guards is unnecessary. If Jesus didn’t want to be arrested, He could overpower them all with a word, or He could call on His Father to send an angel army 72,000 strong. Instead, He submits to His Father’s will. But He does not remain silent. He speaks one last time to Judas, trying to awaken his conscience. “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” The betrayer’s hypocrisy is striking, using something as familiar as a kiss and making it the instrument by which he would deliver Jesus over to His enemies.
But Judas does not see his guilt or his shame. He kisses Jesus in order to distinguish Him from the other disciples. But even this is pointless. Jesus is already stepping forward to put Himself in their hands.
This must have been one of the most painful things for Jesus. In this bitter betrayal, one that He loved now turned against Him with a simple kiss. But that was not all. Jesus knew Judas wouldn’t recognize the terrible thing he just did, and later he would rush off in despair and take his own life.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, how sharp the pain You suffered as Judas whom You loved betrayed You with a kiss! Forgive me the times I thoughtlessly betray You. Amen.
*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.