Read: Mark 14:43-52

The one I will kiss is the man. (v. 44)

Those you love the most can also hurt you the most. When a friend decides not to spend time with you anymore, it hurts more than when you never see a stranger again. The closeness you used to have makes the loss all the more painful.

Judas used a gesture of love to betray Jesus. He had walked with Jesus as a disciple for three years. He had heard him teach, seen his miracles, witnessed Jesus’s compassion toward the poor, and taken in his proclamation that the kingdom of God was there in their midst. Yet Judas came that night with armed guards. He had sold Jesus out and prepared to hand him over to people who wanted to kill him. To identify Jesus in the dark, Judas came close, called him “Rabbi,” the title of respect used by disciples to address their masters, and kissed him (vv. 44-45). A kiss is a sign of affection, love, and closeness. But Judas used it to turn his back on Jesus and hand him over to death.

Jesus was betrayed not only by Judas but was abandoned by the rest of his disciples. One of the disciples pulled out a sword (he came prepared!) and cut off the ear of one of the attackers (v. 47). Eventually all the disciples fled into the night. Those who loved Jesus most turned their backs on him when it mattered most (v. 50). Yet he didn’t turn his back on them, or on us. Instead, he turned his face toward the cross.

As you pray, thank Jesus for always loving you.

About the Author

Stephen Shaffer is the pastor at Bethel Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario.

This entry is part 23 of 31 in the series Looking to Jesus