clouds gathering over the desert mountains
On this Wednesday of Holy Week, as Christians enter into that period of recalling the betrayal and death of Jesus, the figure of Judas Iscariot comes onto the scene.
The Bible says that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, and ever since that day, the "kiss of Judas" has become an almost universal icon of betrayal and breaching trust.
I have another story about a Judas kiss. It's not a story you hear in the Bible - more like a folk story - but it is tender and touching, and very much in keeping with who Jesus was and what Jesus taught.
As the story goes, Judas has betrayed his friend Jesus with a kiss. Jesus has been arrested, crucified and after Jesus dies, he visits the condemned souls in hell. Judas is there, of course, and when Judas sees his friend Jesus whom he has betrayed, he cringes in fear. Jesus comes to Judas, lifts him up, and yes, he kisses him, and with that kiss of mercy and forgiveness they both enter into life eternal. The kiss of betrayal now becomes a kiss of peace. I love the story!
The story of Jesus kissing Judas, makes me reflect on two things
I think about and celebrate a God who is all merciful and always forgiving. Even when I am selfish and go my own foolish ways, God kisses me into life.
I also think about my own call to be a forgiver and a reconciler. Today I want to remember all those who have betrayed me, and do what I can to give them a kiss of peace.