Chapter 47 The Significance Of A Kiss

Judas…kissed Him (Matthew 26:47-49).

This woman…hath not ceased to kiss my feet (Luke 7:45).

Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth (Song of Solomon 1:2).

A kiss has many meanings in Scripture. Joseph kissed all his brethren as a token of reconciliation (Genesis 45:15). David kissed Jonathan in their final farewell—a kiss of friendship (1 Samuel 20:41). The father of the prodigal son “fell on his neck and kissed him” on the son’s returning (Luke 15:20). In the Church, Paul admonished believers to “greet one another with an holy kiss” (1 Corinthians 16:20).

As to the latter we must remember that, as in the Far East today, men and women sat separately, and greeted one another separately, so that this kiss was no doubt confined to members of the same sex. It was a “kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14) and had the same effect as a love feast in India—it abolished all social distinctions and any spirit of discrimination and partiality.

The Kiss of Judas

“Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Master; and kissed Him” (Matthew 26:48-49). The word used here means fervently. This betrayal kiss was more demonstrative than the ordinary kiss of a formal greeting. Never in all the years of His association with the intimate band of disciples did Judas ever call Jesus, Lord! His discipleship had been play acting—the very essence of hypocrisy.

Judas had privileges few men ever had. He companied with our Lord and belonged to a band of men who were to attend Him in His impeccable walk on earth, to hear His purpose to undergo the uttermost of God’s wrath and to drink the very dregs of anguish for man’s redemption. He must have seen the signs of coming distress on our dear Lord’s face as He approached the mysteries of His substitutionary sacrifice and the shameful cross.

Was Judas so perverse and hardened that he never at any time read the language of the Saviour’s heart, interpreted His incessant prayers, the meaning of His mighty pleadings, the appeal of His outstretched hands? Yet Judas betrayed Him, and did so with the sweetest symbol of love. It is the only time we read of anyone kissing the Saviour’s face, and it was with the filthy lips of this wretch of all humankind, whose very name has become a symbol of infamy.

The Kiss of Love by a Woman

“Seest thou this woman?” said our Lord in a gentle but stinging rebuke to Simon the Pharisee, who had given Him no water to wash His feet, no kiss of greeting, no oil for His refreshing. “This woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet” (Luke 7:45). It is not likely that the woman was Mary Magdalene, nor Mary of Bethany, though the latter did much the same in anointing the Lord. This woman was a woman of sin, and our Lord’s forgiveness had brought forth this act of pure devotion. She had tasted that the Lord is gracious and expressed her love of Him in this lowly and loving act of kissing His feet.

This act of complete devotion brought from the Saviour an assurance to Simon of her sins forgiven, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much” (verse 47). That word must have dropped in her guilt-ridden soul like “sweet smelling myrrh” and carried its own blessing and refreshing. Her kisses upon His feet expressed her deep sense of her un-worthiness, but also demonstrated a soul now filled with love of Him. She had no doubt heard His public utterances of good news and sought Him out. What vehemence of affection! How much her heart was set upon God’s beloved Son! How desirous she was of His word of forgiveness! Her kisses on His feet were out of the abundance of her heart and must have given a great deal of satisfaction to our Lord.

The Kiss Desired by His Elect Bride, the Church

“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth” (Song of Solomon 1:2). This book is “the song of songs” that is, unexcelled by any other song and unsurpassed by any other song, whether of divine or human origin. There is no adequate interpretation of this song except that which relates it to the love union between Christ and His Church. He is the Bridegroom-Lover; she the elect bride.

Here she desires a new discovery of His love, a new touch of His love upon her life. Here the kiss has spiritual significance since in this book we are in the realm of heavenly things. She seeks something more intimate and real than mere form and ceremony. Rather, she seeks “the kisses of His mouth.” The love of Christ is a believer’s true desire. It is the purest desire of the human soul to long after some special manifest demonstration of it, which has the effect of raising our affections toward Him.

To have such a touch of His love upon our lives is a believer’s heaven on earth, and the beginning of glory. A believer prefers this to all the most excellent things of earth. It is a surprising and astonishing grace that the blessed Lord of glory would stoop to kiss such wretches as we are, and to receive us into His loving embrace.

When we gather to Him, we should do so with this fond desire. True, we are here at the remembrance feast to express our devotion to Him, but the best incentive to do that will be to feel His touch of love upon our own lives. It would not be inappropriate at all to come to this feast of love with this desire: “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.”

Longing for the Bride, Lord Jesus,
Of Thy heart,
To be with Thee in the glory,
Where Thou art:
Love so groundless, grace so boundless,
Wins my heart.

When Thy blood-bought Church, Lord Jesus,
Is complete;
When each soul is safely landed
At Thy feet;
What a story in the glory
She’ll repeat!

Then Thy Church will be, Lord Jesus,
The display
Of Thy richest grace and kindness
In that day;
Marking pages, wondrous stages,
O’er earth’s way.

Miss C. A. Wellesley