Problem: Judas did or didn't kiss Jesus
Verses: Mark 14:44-45, John 18:3-5; Status: Weak

The synoptic gospels agree that Judas was to betray Jesus with a kiss. For example, this is Mark 14:44-45:

Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard." And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, "Rabbi!" And he kissed him. (ESV)

Matthew and Luke agree. On the other hand, John contains no mention of the kiss. The internet document "101 Clear Contradictions" says that (in John's gospel) Judas never gets near Jesus. This is John 18:3-5:

So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" They answered him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am he." Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. (ESV)

I'm inclined to agree that the natural reading of the text is that Judas never came near Jesus. Nevertheless, it doesn't explicitly rule it out, either. The most problematic verse is the one that says Judas was standing with "them", presumably meaning the soldiers. But it's surely possible that his position changed during the incident (especially given the awareness of Judas' motives that Jesus shows in Luke 22:48, which might have made Judas back away).

Updated: Summer 2008

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