Judas' Kiss

Why did Judas kiss Jesus?

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John 18 Commentary
John 18:2-9 Jesus of Nazareth

John 18:10-12 Judas' Kiss

John 18:13-24 Annas and Caiaphas
John 18:25-27 (A): Peter Denies Jesus
John 18:25-27 (B): Jesus' Trial
John 18:28-32 Praetorium
John 18:33-38 My Kingdom Is Not of This World
John 18:39-40 Barabbas

What convinces the mob that it is Jesus?
Judas’ kiss: "Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him." (Matthew 26:48-50)

Did Jesus know the meaning of Judas' kiss?
A kiss on the cheek was a sign of respect in those days, but Jesus knew Judas' kiss to be one of betrayal: "But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48)

Where were Jesus' disciples by this time?
Right "around" Jesus: "When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” (Luke 22:49) Jesus. To their credit, the 11 faced off against 600 Roman soldiers (see Jesus of Nazareth), yet displayed a will to fight instead of turning tail: “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” (Luke 22:49)

JOHN 18:10-12  10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” 12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.

Let's read the corresponding accounts in Matthew and Luke.

Matthew 26:51-54  51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”

Luke 22:50-53  50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, "Permit even this." And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

What happens next, before Jesus answers the question in Luke 22:49?
Peter, true to his 'act first, think later' form, strikes.

Which mortal target did he go after and what lethal blow did he strike?
“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.” (John 18:10)

What does the detail, "right ear" imply about this account and Malchus' attire?
The precision - “right” ear - points to an eyewitness account and that Malchus wasn't wearing a helmet, which means he most likely wasn't wearing a body armor either. Peter most probably swung at the man nearest to him, who turned out to be the unprotected and most probably unarmed "servant" (the Greek word, doulos, actually means “slave”) "of the high priest" (Luke 22:50).

What did Jesus say to Peter?
"Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?" (Matthew 26:52-54)

How many angels would be in twelve legions?
72,000 (12 x 6,000)

What kind of damage were they capable of?
Isaiah 37:36 records one angel killing 185,000 soldiers in one night: "Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses - all dead." So 72,000 angels could have killed 13 billion soldiers.

What could Jesus have done?
Wipe out everyone on earth.

What is He saying?
He can handle the 600+ who had come to arrest Him.

Instead, what did Jesus do?
"He touched his ear and healed him." (Luke 22:51)

What was Malchus doing there in the first place?
He was probably holding one of the "lanterns, torches" (John 18:3) for his boss, the chief priest, who was also there: "Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?" (Luke 22:52)

So in front of whom did Jesus perform His last healing miracle?
The chief priest, and right next to the torch or lantern so that he can see it clearly.

What happened next?
“Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.” (John 18:12)

But given who "went forward" (John 18:4), identified Himself, "healed" (Luke 22:51), held back His firepower and "permit" (Luke 22:51) Himself be arrested, who is in control?
It's Jesus.

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