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God’s Word for You

Luke 22:47-48 the kiss

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, April 11, 2019

47 While he was still speaking, they saw a crowd coming,  and the man who was called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He came up to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, do you betray the Son of man with a kiss?”

At the beginning of the chapter, Luke told us that Satan entered into Judas sometime the day before. Here they were, the man and his demon, the devil in person, to betray the Son of God. What lie had the devil told to Judas to twist his heart so much? What lies does the devil whisper to any of us to twist our hearts away from Jesus? Was it just the idea of a little profit? Was it nothing more than the thirty pieces? Zechariah had prophesied that it would be that much (Zechariah 11:12-13). But did Judas think he would get away with this more times than this? We can imagine his mind at work with a sinful syllogism:

  1. Jesus can get free of anyone who attacks him.
  2. I, Judas, want to make money from my association with Jesus.
  3. Therefore I, Judas, can betray him again and again. I will get rich, and Jesus will go unharmed!

But Judas was listening so closely to the devil’s lie that he forgot Jesus’ own predictions about this very trip to Jerusalem. Were you asleep, Judas, when Jesus prophesied this? “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him” (Luke 18:31-32).

As they stood there facing one another, the kiss of the friend betrayed the Son of God to man. And there is a kind of symbolism in the betrayal. The very name of Judas means “Jew, descendant of the tribe of Judah.” In a way, Judas stands here in the place of the entire nation of Israel, all of the Jews. They rejected him and betrayed him to be put to death. You are not our sort of Messiah, Jesus! We would rather die with our sins on our own heads (they would shout, Matthew 27:25) than follow Jesus! So Judas and the Romans soldiers, the Jew and the Gentiles, stood ready to lay hands on him to kill him.

How deeply ingrained in man’s fallen nature is the temptation, the inclination, the habit, of betraying Christ and falling into sin! What miserable creatures we are! Consider: A man who loves and treasures his Savior all the waking day can, in a moment of fatigue and weakness, stumble into sin. Such it is with all mankind. But the same man, the lover of God, can fall asleep, and dream such wild and sinful things that he seems to betray his friends, his family, his community, his church, and God as well—all while seeming to lie there peacefully next to his bride, slumbering gently; the outward image of contentment. Saint Augustine fretted about this same thing. He said, “So great a power have these deep images [sinful dreams] over my soul and my flesh that these false visions persuade me when asleep to do what true sights cannot persuade me to [do] when awake” (Confessions, book 10, chapter 30). But Augustine goes on: “At such times am I not myself, O Lord my God? (his book is written in the form of confessions and prayers to God).” And later: “Yet so great a difference there is that… we return on awaking to peace of conscience” (ibid.). If we can sin even when we dream, then we must understand just how deeply infected by sin we are. We are bound to sin; bound to fall. It is only the sinner who has been scooped up by the grace of God and washed clean in the healing water of baptism who has been rescued from sin and from this complete bondage to sin.

Rejoice, O Christian, that Jesus loves you. Our lips may have touched the cheek of the Savior like those of Judas, and for the same reason, but the compassion of the betrayed Savior remains. He is true. He was resolved to go through with his crucifixion, and there is no sin so vile, no betrayal so heartbreaking, that Jesus might have said, “Forget it; they’re not worth it.” His answer always remains the same: I shall die for them all.

“And so,” said an ancient pupil of the Apostles, “we should ask to be forgiven for all the errors we have committed and the deeds we have performed through any of the machinations of the Enemy” (1 Clement 51:1).

Don’t let the devil throw dust in your eyes. Turn to Jesus for forgiveness, and know that there is no sin so bad, so vile, so horrifying, so shameful, or so troubling to your hurting conscience, that it is not forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Your sins are forgiven. Turn to Jesus in faith and peace.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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