The kiss of death was given by Judas to Jesus. It was an indication to the enemies of Christ that he was the person they wanted to arrest. At that very split-second there was a turning of the page in history. At that point is a historical moment before Jesus completed his purpose in coming to earth. Also, at that split-second there was an indication of what would happen afterwards and how history would be changed forever. That very moment was a time in which Jesus changed from being a rabbi or a prophet to the man who would be the sacrifice for the sins of the world. This was a switch that was turned from what was to what shall be.
Previous before the deadly kiss, Jesus made a comment that would be a focal point for himself. He knew it would be an indication for his own life. In John 16:28, he said “I came forth from the Father and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.”
In other words, Jesus said there was a before time and an after time for him. Let us look first at the before time.
Before his incarnation or birth Jesus always existed. We should bear in mind that Jesus is God eternal. Jesus did not come into existence at his birth from his mother, Mary. He always was and always will be. In fact, Jesus is the creator as indicated in the first chapter of the Gospel of John. Jesus is he who sustains all things. By his word the earth spins properly at the proper angle. By his word the earth maintains the correct distance from the sun. By his word the moon rotates around the earth in a proper manner. How profound it is that the divine Jesus came into human flesh and died for our sins on the cross.
Before his ministry, Jesus had normal human growth and development. He experienced family life. He was taught about faith on his mother’s lap. He ate whatever food his parents could provide. He was clothed in whatever they could offer. Before his ministry Jesus experienced pain both physically and emotionally. As a child while running, he knew pain when he scuffed his knee or scratched his elbow. As a young man, he knew the grief of losing a loved one when his stepfather Joseph passed away. As a result, Jesus became the head of the house and worked as a carpenter as did Joseph. As the eldest son, Jesus was responsible for the family.
Before his ministry he lived as any man would live. However, his life was heading in a new direction that would be the fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament. He was walking the road that would lead him to Calvary. As he grew, he was aware of these prophecies and even told people about them. There was no surprise for Jesus when he experienced the rebuke, hatred, and attack from other people. He already knew what was going to come because of the prophecies that his life was fulfilling.
Before the crucifixion of Jesus, he knew what that meant to him. He was fully aware of what crucifixion was. When the Romans crucified a criminal, that person’s body was left hanging to rot on the cross so the birds and animals could nibble on the flesh. Jesus was aware that nails would be driven in his own flesh because he saw that it had been driven in another people’s flesh. He was aware of the mockery that was soon to come home because of the stern position and vile attitude that some of the leaders of religion displayed. He saw the audacity of some hypocrites intentionally praying in public giving expressions of agony. He saw the criminal behavior of those who were selling animals to be used for sacrifice at the very courtyard of the temple. He witnessed the corruption of the Roman government, the soldiers, and the local governors sent from Caesar himself. The world in which Jesus lived did not induce happiness or prosperity or good health. The living conditions were much less than desirable.
And that kiss of death was the turning of the page after Jesus was arrested and what would come forth. No one could ever prove any criminal activity or even moral behavior that was not acceptable to society or Scripture. The life of Jesus was profound as God’s witness against corruption, evil, and sin. At the same time, the life Jesus pointed the way toward relief and redemption.
After Jesus experienced the excruciating pain of the cross, he dismissed his spirit. The Greek words used at the time of Jesus death are picture works. It is as if a teacher was dismissing his pupils from class. So did Jesus when it came time for him to die, he dismissed his spirit from his body. And with his spirit gone his flesh became a corpse. This was surprising to the Roman soldiers that crucified him because they found no need to break his legs and cause more pain and usher in death. They saw no need because he died before they expected him to die.
After Jesus left his body, he went to a place called Hades. Previously Jesus said that there are two compartments in Hades that are divided by what Jesus called a great gulf fixed. On the one side were those who rejected God. On the other side of that gulf was Jesus with the righteous. First Peter 3:18 to 20 says that Jesus preached across that gulf. Again, we turn to the Greek word used for preaching. It was not preaching that is normally used to gain a convert or to encourage response. The Greek word for preach here is to announce or declare. Jesus presented himself in Hades so that he might speak across to those that did not listen and get on Noah’s ark. The ark was a symbol of salvation from the great flood and is also a symbol of Jesus offering salvation from eternal damnation. Jesus said that he was the one that they ultimately rejected when they rejected the ark.
After Jesus was crucified and after three days, the Bible says that, not only did Jesus regain his life through resurrection, but righteous and prophetic people began to walk about the earth. They were not zombies; they were not monsters. They regained their bodies. Note that before Jesus’ resurrection righteous people were said to go down. After Jesus’ resurrection righteous people were said to go up.
After the resurrection of Christ, he was still human but also miraculous. He ate with the disciples but also walk through doors. All of this sounds profound, but it is no less profound than what some scientists are trying to do in their own laboratories. Recently it was on television news that Russian scientists in Siberia are trying to clone a mammoth, an ancient elephant. Cloning has already been done with sheep and other animals.
However, Jesus was not a clone, he was his original self-displaying miraculous abilities. Jesus ministered touching the people’s hearts. In one case he spoke to 500 people who gathered to hear him. He declared to the faithful a witness of himself, of Scripture, and of the Heavenly Father. We should observe the Jesus who, with all of his power and ability from resurrection to healing others, sought no revenge against those who orchestrated his death. One would think the first thing that Jesus would want to do would be to strike back at those who declared themselves his enemy. Yet, Jesus extended his love to anyone who would accept it.
There are some confusing details about when the church came to be. Some say that it came to be when it was organized around the year 300 A.D. Most people believe that the church came to be in the second chapter of Acts as the Holy Spirit came upon believers. It is best believed that Jesus himself started the church. (Matthew 16:18) In a conversation with Peter, Jesus said that on the faith displayed by Peter Jesus would build his church. That was before Acts chapter 2 and 300 years before the church became officially organized. Jesus recognized his followers as the church.
Finally, as we consider after the turning of the page of the kiss of death by Judas, we must consider what happened after Jesus ascended to heaven. He gathered his most faithful and closest disciples with him, gave them instructions as indicated in the last chapter of the book of Matthew. He rose up defying gravity and went into heaven. There he sits on the throne next to the Father and there he is the glorified Christ. There he is the one who completed his mission as a sacrificial lamb. And there he intercedes for us as our mediator, our helper, friend and, of course, our Savior. There he and the Father follow the plan created before the earth was ever made. And that plan includes his soon return.
Kisses of death that Judas gave Jesus was a mile marker. It reflects on Jesus in the before time and Jesus in the after time. It was Jesus who followed the path given him by the Heavenly Father. It was Jesus who stepped forward to be sacrificed for our sins and become our Savior. It was Jesus after the kiss who ultimately went to heaven and will return as a conquering King.