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Gethsemane happenings-part 3: Don't abuse the symbols of love

Rev. Enoch Thompson | September 16, 2023 | Matthew 26:45-51


⁴⁸Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."⁴⁹Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him. Matthew 26:48-49 (NIV)


There are things that we do to show that we love someone and care for them. A smile, a handshake, an embrace, a kiss on the cheek, a flower offered etc, the cultural expressions may vary but the message is understood. The challenge is that these expressions of love may be falsified, they could be given with a wicked intention behind them. Sometimes a smile of love but with an evil intent to destroy the person smiled at.

In Gethsemane, Judas demonstrated how we can abuse and misuse kind gestures to front our evil intentions. A kiss as was offered by Judas was meant to express love, but Judas intended to and turned into a weapon of betrayal. You might have come across people who are deceptive in their outward expressions but prove to be evil by the negative things they say about the person they have been smiling at or chatting so freely with in a moment earlier. It is an attitude of hypocrisy, deception and simply evil.

Marriage is a symbol of love, how are you using (or abusing) it? Church is an expression of a common spiritual family, what are you making of it; do we go to church to look for opportunities to damage other people or to seek to express the love of God in Christ with our fellow worshippers? Our identification with Christianity is meant to say we follow the Lord Jesus Christ; do we?


Maybe you have been treated in this deceptive destructive way by someone or some people. Or is it you who has used deceptive appearances to hurt someone? Beware of the temptation to deceive others with our external behaviours while our inner intentions are evil. Beware of people who have proved treacherous. Above all trust in the power of God to protect you from false pretences.


Lord, it hurt when the symbol of love, the kiss, was used to betray you. I pray that I will not follow the path of Judas in my relationship with you and with the people around me.

Please protect me from wicked people who use deception to damage others. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.



____________________________ DAILY word study: KISS The word "kiss" in Matthew 26:48 is translated from the Greek word "φιλέω" (phileō). This Greek verb means to "kiss" or to "show affection." It signifies a gesture of warmth, friendship, or intimacy.

In this verse, Judas Iscariot, who has agreed to betray Jesus to the religious authorities, arranges a signal with them. He tells them that he will identify Jesus by kissing Him. This kiss, typically a symbol of affection and friendship, is used here as a deceitful and treacherous signal to point out Jesus to those who have come to arrest Him.

The use of a kiss in this context adds a layer of irony and betrayal to the narrative. What is typically an expression of love and trust becomes a symbol of betrayal and deception.

The word "kiss" in this passage underscores the tragic nature of Judas' betrayal. It serves as a powerful reminder of how something as innocent and warm as a kiss can be perverted into a symbol of betrayal and disloyalty. It highlights the contrast between the outward appearance of affection and the hidden motives of the heart.

This passage invites us to reflect on the theme of betrayal in our own lives. It encourages us to examine our actions and motivations, recognizing that betrayal can take many forms, even in the guise of affection. It calls us to be vigilant in guarding our hearts against actions that harm others or lead us away from God's path.

Reflections: Are there areas in your life where outward appearances and actions do not align with your true intentions or motivations? How can you guard your heart against actions that may inadvertently harm others or lead you away from your values and faith?

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