“Judas, are you betraying me with a kiss?” Luke 22:48
During my freshman year of college at Michigan State University, I was in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. I was the understudy for Mary Magdalene, which means I had to learn the part, but didn’t get to perform in the role. I did get to sing in the chorus, which included standing on a ten foot pillar while wearing go-go boots and a shimmery sliver dress, singing, “Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, who are you? What have you sacrificed?” Hey, it was 1978.
The girl who got the part of Mary Magdalene had long, dark, wavy hair and beautiful, bronzy skin. I’m sure the director was praying that nothing would happen to her. Otherwise, Mary would have had a decidedly mid-west farm girl look, with blonde hair and fair skin. It might have worked in East Lansing, Michigan.
One thing bothered me about the girl who played Mary. She started hanging out with the guy who played Judas. He also had long, dark, wavy hair and beautiful, bronzy skin, so they looked great together, but it didn’t seem right to me. Seeing Mary and Judas walk around campus holding hands made me uneasy.
Standing backstage during the scene of Judas’s betrayal, I remember having goose bumps when Jesus sang, “Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?” His tenor voice in that minor key was full of anguish. I kept a Kleenex tucked in my go-go boots. It got me every time.
In our production, Jesus was portrayed as being surprised at Judas’s method. Of course, Jesus knew there would be a betrayal. He even knew it would be Judas. But I wonder if the warm, intimate greeting took him a bit by surprise.
Why did it have to be a friend
Who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did he use a kiss to show them?
That’s not what a kiss is for.
Only a friend can betray a friend,
A stranger has nothing to gain.
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain.
“Why” by Michael Card