The Kiss of Death – Gospel in Life

The Kiss of Death

Tim Keller |  February 18, 2007

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  • Jesus' Death & Resurrection
Mark 14:43-52
RS 191-18


As we look at the last part of Jesus’ life, we come to this scene: his arrest. In it, Jesus makes a big deal about them coming for him with swords and clubs.

What we have here is a clash between two kingdoms, two administrations of reality, two sets of priorities and values. We have the right-side-up kingdom of this world and the upside-down kingdom of Jesus and of God.

In this passage in Mark 14 we see, 1) Judas shows us the kingdom of this world, 2) Peter shows us the difficulty of living in the kingdom of Jesus, and 3) the mysterious young man gives us insights into how we get the power to live in Jesus’ kingdom.

Mark 14:43–52

This section from Mark talks about Jesus getting arrested. It uses the phrase “kiss of death,” which is actually marking Judas’ downfall, not Jesus’. The part where Jesus asks about swords and clubs is a reminder that violence only leads to more violence. This story really digs into the differences between the values of the world, like those Judas had, and the life-changing values Jesus taught, which we see in Peter and the young man who ran away.

1. Judas and the world’s way of doing things

The idea of a “right-side-up kingdom” flips our usual idea of power on its head. We usually think power comes from things like weapons, money, armies, and political pull. Jesus, though, pushes back against this, calling for a revolution that changes hearts, not just the status quo. This makes Jesus a revolutionary who can’t be stopped by typical displays of power like swords.

2. Peter and the struggle to live like Jesus

Jesus’ kingdom values things the world often overlooks or rejects: weakness, poverty, suffering, and rejection. These values are the opposite of the world’s focus on power, riches, and popularity. Living these out, like we see Peter doing when Jesus is arrested, can be hard but can also change us deeply. Society often strays from these values, but when we help those who are struggling, it helps us grow, understand who we really are, and put others first. This is how we experience the freedom that comes from God’s grace.

3. How do we find the strength to live this way?

The young man who ran away from Jesus, naked and ashamed, shows us a picture of how everyone has failed. It’s like when Adam and Eve messed up in the Garden of Eden. But Jesus, unlike Adam and Eve, faced God’s justice for us, swapping our shame for his goodness. This trade changes how we see our reputation, money, and time, helping us to live generously and joyfully, with our identity in Christ, instead of living selfishly, which always ends badly.



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