And He Kissed Him

As we walked to the garden my hand kept straying into my pocket. There my fingers traced the outline of the coins, felt the weight of the bag, gripping it and feeling the silver shift inside. Was it just me, or was the bag feeling heavier? Thirty pieces of silver. Not as much as the flask and its contents would have sold for, but a decent sum, and it was worth it, right? How would I point him out to the crowd? It was dark, we wouldn’t want him to get away, or to arrest the wrong man. He did have a knack for walking out of trouble, unhurried and unseen, I’ll give him that. It would be hard to explain the crowd, but he’d expect the normal greeting, and a kiss. 

When we arrived he was talking to the others, I made a point to walk straight up to him, avoiding eye contact. “Greetings, Rabbi!” A kiss. And it was done. Now that it’s all over, I wonder. I wonder, why did he call me “Friend”?  Those were the last words he ever said to me, he knew what I was doing, he knew it when I dipped my bread. He knew I was going to dip my bread before I even decided to dip it. I wonder. 

The last time he was ever addressed, he was called “Friend”. Before his name became synonymous with Betrayer, Jesus called him Friend. At the height of his rebellion, his greed and disbelief, the Lord of Lords, called Judas Iscariot, soon to be silver-less, and a suicide, Friend. And this is good news, is it not? If God did not call sinners Friend, what hope would any of us have? At our very worst, at the bottom of the pit, what more do we really need?

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.”

Peter was asked about his love three times, one for each denial. His grace abounds and corresponds with our falling. We are all one time rebels, and even now we continue to deny and betray and reject him, despite our experience of grace. As we betray with a kiss, we find that God, before we can even get our spiel out, has embraced us and kissed us. What glorious indiscretion, what scandalous oversight! It is egregious how little we deserve them, the robe and the ring, the crown and new names.

Lord, I am a man of unclean lips, unclean hands and an unclean heart. Jesus, I know the wine was bitter on your lips, the nails pierced your hands, and your heart broke for all of us, the blood and water flowed from your side. Would your words be like honey on my lips, make me your hands to do your work, and continue making my heart whole again, oh God. Thank you.


~ by justinhong on March 29, 2015.

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