Sealed with a kiss

Daily RSS Feed


In the midst of betrayal and unlawful arrest, Jesus is a man of peace. Are you a person of peace?

Image of the day

Bible passage: Matthew 26:47–56

Jesus Arrested(A)

47 While he was still speaking, Judas,(B) one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!”(C) and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”[a](D)

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword,(E) drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.(F)

52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.(G) 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?(H) 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled(I) that say it must happen in this way?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching,(J) and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”(K) Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Jesus willingly giving himself
The quietness of the garden is now filled with the sound of a mob arriving. Judas appears amongst his friends, but he is only looking for one and when he finds him he says ‘Greetings, Rabbi’ (Judas never calls Jesus ‘Lord’) and kisses him. The soldiers move in to arrest Jesus.

Even now we realise that Jesus is giving himself over to this arrest willingly. Think of the many points where Jesus could have walked away, even from the garden a few moments ago. But he is in control, and he knows he is fulfilling a plan agreed within the Godhead.

Violence prompts violence
When one of his followers (John tells us it was Peter, John 18:10) tries to take things into his own hands by responding violently, he is rebuked by Jesus. Although these soldiers are acting on the command of those who have no regard for God and are bent on doing evil, the battle that Jesus is fighting is not ‘against flesh and blood’ (Ephesians 6:12). Oh that more in our world would take Jesus’ words to heart; violence simply prompts more violence (v 52). 

As Jesus goes peacefully with those who mean him harm, the disciples flee. This is the point where they desert him. Fear, bewilderment and terror fill their hearts.

Elaine Duncan


Lord, ‘make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring your love’ (attributed to Francis of Assisi).

Deeper Bible study

What Jesus so often called his ‘hour’ had finally come. His disciples had already forsaken him, emotionally, in the garden. Now they physically ran away. Jesus was completely abandoned: his ordeal had begun. Our over-familiarity with the story should not blind us to the fact that every response his disciples made then is repeated daily by his disciples today. Like Peter, we cannot believe that we could forsake our Lord. ‘Surely not me!’, we say, like all twelve disciples at the Last Supper (see v 25); but, like them, not all of us are always right about ourselves and our motivations. How many Christians today, whether obscure or prominent, consciously or unconsciously betray their Lord under a mask of calculated but false sincerity? Who among us has never made a self-serving choice?

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus totally rejected the use of his power on his own behalf (Matt 4:5–7). Here he urged non-violence upon his disciples, whose instinct was to meet violence with violence. They actually had swords! Knowing no other way of dealing with an angry lynch mob, their next choice was to flee. Random aggression, out-of-hand herd mentality and the injustice of crowds incited to violence against others are a reality today, especially in politically or religiously divided communities. Christians facing violent opposition in some countries today still struggle to find another way, a path between meeting violence with violence and fleeing to safety and hiding or even denying their beliefs. Those of us who live in more tolerant communities should not too hastily judge those who, like the disciples, don’t know how to make the right choice or even what the right choice is, especially when faced with sudden violence. In our safer communities, we all still know what it is to run away from what we should do in times of pressure or panic.

John Harris

Study of Judas

Matthew highlights the extent of Judas’ betrayal by introducing him as ‘one of the Twelve’ (26:47). But he does not offer any reasons for Judas’ treachery. This has left the door open for two millennia of speculation.

What we know is that the disciples were expecting the emergence of the kingdom of God to be an earthly reality with positions of rank reflecting official status (see Matthew 20:20–24; 26:33; Acts 1:6). 

• Did Judas grow disillusioned with Jesus’ reticence to clarify how it would all work out?
• Did he intend to provoke Jesus to action?
• Did Judas really understand at all why he did what he did?

We will never be sure. 

Matthew portrays Judas in quasi-control: 

• He leads a large crowd of temple agents.
• He has arranged a secret code.
• He is proactive in identifying Jesus.

But Matthew has had us read the Gethsemane account first. Judas may look as though he is directing events, but this is not really the case. We have seen Jesus’ struggle, and subsequent commitment to the cup of suffering set before him. Despite appearances, he is really in charge now.

The irony of Judas greeting Jesus with a kiss and the title of ‘Rabbi’ is no surprise to the readers. Those with eyes to see can recognise the prophets’ words being acted out in front of them (v 56).

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Deuteronomy 17,18

Romans 3

Judas kiss

Although none of us can get close in terms of scale and impact to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, every day we have a choice to live for Christ in the small details of our lives or go our own way.

Listen to or read this poem, ‘Judas kiss’, written and read by ‘stand-up poet’ Jude Simpson (

Judas kiss

Have you ever kissed someone
after deciding to dump them?
Isn’t it hard, trying to convey
a sense of unchanged emotion
when in fact affection has drained away,
and it’s just an empty eggshell of a kiss.

How do you attempt to reconstruct,
coldly from memory,
a gesture normally acted out by warm emotions?
How do you re-configure the timing, the approach,
which angle you normally take, as you
desperately try to rebuild on blue lips
that which once was swelled and
carried along by instinct?

Because have you ever kissed someone
after deciding to dump them,
without them noticing –
the emptiness – the motions without a meaning?
Have they really ever accepted the void gesture
as the real thing?
I don’t think so.

You can’t kiss lips, cheek, face,
without disclosing your heart.
And if your heart has stopped loving,
if your heart has decided it knows better,
if your heart has resolved that the object once of its worship
is a fool,
how will mere lips cover that over
when they offer themselves
in a sign of intimacy?

It’s only you who knows what’s inside,
but only until your lips land, and then the secret is out,
your heart betrayed to the one you kiss.

We’re lucky. We can’t betray Jesus like Judas did –
he no longer has that physical vulnerability –
no one can give the kiss that could lead to his death any more.

All we can do is shadow-betray –
our empty kisses are the words we say
without meaning,
the gestures we make
to make others believe
what we want them to think we believe.
The slight disowning – the pull of shame –
the reining things in to keep them safe,
and any time our lips try to say
what our heart doesn’t believe.

Sometimes you kiss someone
because you desperately want to believe
that you love them.
As though building the outward structure
will make the feelings come,
create a home they will instinctively inhabit.

And sometimes you kiss someone because you
haven’t found the right way yet to tell them
that it’s over.
Maybe you’re cowardly, maybe you’re lazy,
maybe you really are trying to be kind.
Maybe you’re genuinely doing it for their own good.

I don’t know how you betray Jesus
or anything that you believe,
I don’t know whether there are times you find it
hard to be true even to yourself, but know this.
When you kiss –
whether it’s a song you sing,
a deed done in church,
a word spoken at home,
he who receives the praise of your lips
always knows your heart.

Meaning transcends words,
heart trumps lips.
Better a clumsy, enthusiastic kiss
than the crafted embrace of a hypocrite.
Better heart and lips in simple tune
than a clever symphony that masks the truth.

Men and women see your outward show,
But God knows, God knows,
which lips kiss without deceit.
God knows your little heart, and all its beats. 

© Jude Simpson 2009


Listen to today's podcast on the WordLive website or subscribe to get them automatically delivered to you each day. To download upcoming episodes, visit our Soundcloud.


Join us on Facebook and Twitter

As well as bringing you great content here on the WordLive website, we're also available on your favourite social media networks. If you like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, you'll start to get WordLive content in your news feeds. Come and join us!

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

Podcast RSS Feed


Blessed be your name
Matt Redman / Beth Redman
Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at

Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)
John Newton (1725-1807)
John P Rees (1828- 1900)
Edwin O Excell (1851-1921)
Arr. & add. chorus Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio
Copyright © 2006 Songs/sixsteps Music/
Buy this and other great worship songs at

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 23 March 2018

    Your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you for ever. Ps 45:2b

  • Graham Fuller | Friday, 23 March 2018

    I have seen that poem before but taken with today’s reading it hits you like ‘a ton of bricks’. It may be a simple thing to some but expressed in that way it seem like the ultimate act of betrayal. Lord forgive me.

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 23 March 2018

    Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.........He sets the time for war and the time for peace. ( Ecclesiastes 3 : 1&8 ) Jesus was ushering in the peaceful Kingdom of God and knew His Heavenly Father's will. Humanity still has a lot to learn from living as Jesus taught us.

  • Sara Ward | Friday, 23 March 2018

    I echo your sentiments Graham - the poem and the reading really strike at the core. It’s when you realise that you can no longer lie to yourself or to others - however well intentioned the motives. Have others noticed that when you surrender yourself to God’s will, despite your circumstances and the fear you hold, there is a overwhelming sense of peace? I know I have experienced that and still do if I can allow myself to surrender. One can’t begin to imagine how Jesus felt that night - the terror must have transcended everything - to go back and pray three times - so he knows and understands our terrors, and he holds our hands and supports us through ours. May God be with us all through this day.

  • Ann Boldock | Friday, 23 March 2018

    I like the comment from Jesus "Who ever Lives by the sword dies by the sword" we should remember this. Especially when people challenge us about our faith. Jesus came in Peace this is why he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and not a war horse.

My Comments

Please login to make a comment