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Text Sermons : J.R. Miller : November 18. The Traitor's Kiss!

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"Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, 'Greetings, Master!' and kissed him!" Matthew 26:49

The very reading of the words makes us shudder! A kiss has always been the token of affection, and the seal and pledge of fidelity. Judas' going up to Christ and kissing Him, was a solemn protestation of sincere friendship. Yet the kiss was not only false — but was the sign of betrayal. No words are strong enough to characterize this crime.

We remember the fable of the poisonous reptile taken into the bosom of a kindly man to be warmed, rewarding the benefactor by striking its deadly fangs into his flesh. But even this does not illustrate the baseness of Judas's act. It is no wonder that he is the execration of the world. A poet represents him as placed in the lowest circles of the lost, as the sole sharer with Satan himself of the very uttermost punishment, and shunned even there and even by the guiltiest.

In studying the character and the sin of Judas, the following lessons may be brought out:

1. We must not be surprised if some evil men enter the Church, for even among the twelve apostles, was one Judas.

2. It is no proof that Christianity is untrue, when some of its professors prove hypocrites. The defection of Judas did not leave a stain on the name of Christ, not did it disprove the loyalty and fidelity of the other disciples.

3. One may be very near to Christ — and not be made holy in character. Judas was three years with Christ, heard His words, lived in the atmosphere of His love, and remained unchanged. An empty bottle, airtightly sealed, may lie long in the ocean and continue perfectly dry within. Just so, a heart sealed to Christ's love may lie in His bosom for years, and not be blessed. Only when the heart is opened to receive His grace, does closeness to Him sanctify.

4. Sin grows, and we never can know to what terrible extent a wicked thought or desire may reach!

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