Verse of the Day Devotion. Luke 22:47
“While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.” – Luke 22:47
This verse addresses the betrayal by one of His twelve disciples, Judas, that ended in the arrest of Jesus, and ultimately His death. First, lets go back a bit at the deal he made with the Chief Priests. “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.” Luke 22:1-2. The Jewish leadership believed that if Jesus continued with what He was doing, their positions of leadership may be minimized or forever abolished. This was not acceptable to them, so they were looking for ways to capture and then kill Him without angering the people.
Next, based on the next set of verses, Satan was working with the leadership. “And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad and agreed to give him money. And he consented and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the multitude. Luke 22:3-6. Based on this verse, Judas was not a true follower of Christ, or in today’s vernacular, a Christian. They can be influenced by them, but not possessed by them. But specifically regarding Judas, he continually did wrong for His own benefit. Here is one example. “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people? Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.” John 12:4-6. He would actually steal money from Jesus. And I would go on to say that Satan, using Judas’ body, worked out a deal with the chief priests.
Now, we come to our focus verse. “While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.” Luke 22:47. Now, it is important to understand why Judas would kiss Him. In the culture of first-century Israel, a kiss was not always a romantic expression of love; rather, a kiss on the cheek was a common greeting, a sign of deep respect, honor, and brotherly love. We see this in the writings of Peter, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:14. The type of kiss mentioned here is considered a ‘holy kiss’ through much of the New Testament. Also, for a student who had great respect for his teacher, a kiss fell well within the healthy expression of honor.
However, what really stands out in the mode of Judas’s betrayal is that Judas used such an intimate expression of love and respect to betray Jesus. Judas’s actions were, without question, hypocritical to an extreme. His actions essentially said, ‘I respect and honor you,’ while at the very same time betraying Him to be murdered. His actions can be seen illustrated in Proverbs. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6. Often, foes disguise themselves as friends when they are not. Actually, they are deceivers wearing a mask to conceal their true purpose. And this is what Judas did with Jesus. He came dressed in the costume of an intimate friend. And as a side note, we need to be careful with this as well.
Jesus was betrayed by one who pretended being an intimate friend, to the point that he kissed Jesus as a sign of who was to be arrested. And when the betrayal was in process Jesus asked Judas, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48. Jesus knew this would happen, and so the question was rhetorical. But Jesus still loved him and it was no doubt painful to see Judas playing out what He knew would come. How difficult this may have been, but it shows His following what He taught. “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28. This is a perfect picture of love as laid out by our Messiah, who showed us here, through His arrest, what true love actually looks like.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.