November 1, Thursday

The Kiss of Judas (between 1304 and 1306) by Giotto di Bondone depicts Judas’ identifying kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus said to him (Judas Iscariot), Friend, why have you come? Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took him.

Matthew 26:50.

The events of which the Lord Jesus had often spoken to his disciples were about to take place: i.e. His being unjustly condemned to death, then His sufferings and death on the cross. Reading the Bible, we recognize in many details of the account of the Passion how the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled literally. This also applies to His betrayal by Judas, one of the twelve disciples.

King David speaks prophetically in the psalms of a “companion and an acquaintance” (Psalm 55:13), who maliciously “stabs him in the back”: “My own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:10; cf. John 13:18). Through his underhanded betrayal Judas became the epitome of evil. He led a whole crowd including armed servants of the temple to the garden of Gethsemane, embraced Jesus and kissed Him abundantly, so that his henchmen knew whom they had to arrest in the darkness.

How did the Lord react? He asked Judas, “Friend, why have you come?” The question must have struck Judas’ conscience, although we read in another scripture that the devil had taken control of him (cf. Luke 22:3). Driven by his greed for money, Judas acted coldly. By contrast, the Lord Jesus still addressed him as “friend”, showing His inconceivably great love for sinners, even for Judas. This incident shows clearly that God’s grace must be accepted through sincere repentance and conversion.

Image: By Giotto – ] [dead link], Public Domain,