I am about to write concerning a moment which I do not really understand. I suspect I may not be alone in my ignorance and as you read you can decide which position you occupy. I’m going to invite you to observe an interaction and attempt to fathom the complexity, intricacy and intrigue which surrounds it, while leaving the learning for your work and life. At first sight this is not a work-related incident, but first sight is not always 20:20 and you can use the benefit of hindsight to yield elements of insight.
We are looking at a kiss. It is one of only two recorded kisses given to Jesus of Nazareth – the other from a woman pouring perfume on his feet. This kiss however is not a sign of devotion, affection, intimacy or love. It is arguably the most infamous kiss in history – the end hijacked it to mean hate.
I am going to suggest to you that this moment caused a cataclysmic or cosmic explosion, the shock-waves of which were felt in the rafters of heaven and the cellars of hell.
If you can imagine a coming together of opposing powers with such electrical force that the discharge was seismic, you are on the road to grasping this moment. In human relationships the lovers’ kiss contains electricity deliberately built in by the Creator himself, designed to fill every fibre with tingling joy.
This kiss, whilst equally explosive, is a hideous distortion, a grotesque caricature of all that a kiss is designed to deliver.
I am, however, going to suggest to you that Jesus of Nazareth deliberately and specifically allowed this moment to occur knowing full well that it was not an optional, but an essential, part of his journey to overcome the opposing powers standing in his path to the ultimate prize.
The event is reported most clearly by Mark – in fact it is quite likely that Mark saw it happen with his own eyes, as there is a real probability that Mark was the young man who fled leaving his clothing as the commotion of the unrest unravelled. It was Mark’s way of saying “I was there”.
But Mark and the other eye witnesses may not have realized quite what they were seeing, for here, in this briefest of moments, the brightest light embraces the darkest shadows. The Son of God touches the Satan of darkness. Truth meets lies, good embraces evil, health smells disease, honesty holds deceit, ownership confronts robbery, authenticity touches fraud and life kisses death.
This is no mere fleeting overlap; this kiss is the prelude to the fiercest battle in history. Jesus of Nazareth confronts, in a few seconds, every enemy that he is about to engage with to the death.
Why is this so significant? I suggest to you again that no path to wholeness can bypass this embrace. It is precisely because Jesus allowed this humiliating, disgrace of a moment to occur that he launched himself onto the last steps to paradise. To ignore the traitor’s kiss is to deny the truth of the battle. Only in bringing the two forces together can the overcoming begin and a genuine integration occur
Ignoring the reality of the shadows is self-deceit – It is a pretending that things are not what they really are. Jesus would not sidestep this moment because he woulddeny himself the full horror and glory of humanity if he refused the embrace.
It is when you discern the presence of lies that you can find the meaning of truth. When you name the fraud you can own the authentic; as you unmask the traitor you can discover the servant.
Jesus knew this more that anyone before or since. Now ask yourself this one simple question: how much more would life, work, you and all other make sense if you accepted that every day is permeated by shadows and soiled with sin? Then you could stop pretending; then you could avoid the surprise of indignation;.then you could get real. Ignoring the traitor wherever he resides leads to tragedy;.embracing the traitor leads inevitably to triumph.
43Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. 44Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46The men seized Jesus and arrested him. 47Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” 50Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
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